Bilig : Journal of Social Sciences of the Turkish World vol:70 pages:7-28
In this mixed-method study, we explore teachers’ beliefs concerning the use of the Turkish language by Turkish children in Belgian primary schools, and we compare these findings with the effective consequences of language maintenance. The qualitative analyses revealed that teachers have very negative views about the use of the Turkish language, as they believe that speaking the mother tongue is detrimental to academic achievement. These adverse teacher beliefs are not only shaped by the assimilationist policy context in Belgium, but they are also (re)produced and reinforced by interactions between teachers and the Turkish middle-class. Nevertheless, the quantitative analyses with a data of 435 Turkish pupils in 48 schools have shown that there is no evidence that speaking Turkish, at home or at school, harms pupils’ academic achievement. However, the negative school culture about the Turkish language causes feelings of rejection and reduces the sense of school belonging for pupils who speak Turkish more frequently at school.