Poor language instruction causes crime

Poor language skill could be blamed for much of Germany’s youth crime, a new study suggests. A study led by criminologist Claudius Ohder showed that violent behaviour that could lead to later criminal activity was often identified at the ages of 5 or 6. Measures that followed the diagnosis had minimal effect.

Ohder found that the young criminals had all been disadvantaged by the school system due to their poor German, despite years of German language instruction. As a result of the study, Ohder said that schools need to make the availability of German language instruction “clearly bigger” than what exists at present.

The study which entailed 27 interviews with incarcerated young people shows that poverty is also a factor. Ohder said that schools should intervene and take more active contact with students who show signs of poverty. Furthermore, schools should put problem children into small groups, where they can receive more attention.

Experts and education professionals have both hailed and criticised the study, but agree that the school system needs to get better at helping problem children.