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Barbara Gross

  • Linguistic-cultural diversity in educational institutions
  • Heritage language education in South Tyrol
  • Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
  • Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany
  • Intercultural pedagogy

Keynote lecture

Barbara Gross - 'Linguistic and cultural heterogeneity in super-diverse contexts: The example of South Tyrol, Italy'


Today, educational institutions are characterized by linguistic and cultural super-diversity, and this generates new individual and social opportunities, but also poses additional challenges for educational actors.

In this presentation, linguistic and cultural heterogeneity in educational institutions will be examined from the perspective of critical and intercultural education and by using the example of a multilingual border region in Italy – South Tyrol, where German, Italian and Ladin are officially recognized languages. Results from empirical studies in this region regarding both autochthonous and allochthonous/migration-related linguistic and cultural diversity and its implications for educational (in)equity (Gross, 2022) will be addressed and discussed. On the one hand, findings from a study with 400 primary school pupils on the factors influencing second language learning (Gross, 2019) will be presented, and on the other hand, results from a study on heritage language education for learners with direct and indirect migration experiences (Gross, 2021).

The presentation aims to discuss future perspectives in relation to majority and minority languages, necessary competences in an international and globally interconnected world, to contribute to diversity-sensitive pedagogy, and to dismantle linguistic hierarchies and ethnocentrism in European education systems.



  • Gross, B. (2019). Further Language Learning in Linguistic and Cultural Diverse Contexts. A Mixed Methods Research in a European Border Region. Routledge.
  • Gross, B. (2021). Il ruolo pedagogico dell'insegnamento della lingua d’origine nelle scuole pubbliche: risultati di interviste semi-strutturate con insegnanti e stakeholder. Educazione Interculturale, 19(2), 129-141. doi:10.6092/issn.2420-8175/13904
  • Gross, B. (2022). Eterogeneità e diseguaglianze educative. Prospettive dalla Pedagogia interculturale. FrancoAngeli.




Barbara Gross

Barbara Gross, Ph.D. in Education, worked as a primary school teacher and in adult education. Since 2018 she is a researcher at the Faculty of Education at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, and since 2020 a lecturer at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany.

Her research interests include linguistic and cultural diversity in educational institutions, (in)equity and heterogeneity especially in kindergarten and primary school, intercultural pedagogy, and teacher education. For her research activities and results she received two awards in 2019 and 2020.

In addition to her position-related research activity she has recently concluded a project as principal investigator on heritage language education in South Tyrol. Currently she leads an ESF-project to prevent early school leaving.

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