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Translanguaging space and and bilingual development in the Swedish school
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of pedagogy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5882-4112
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Swedish Language.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In Swedish schools bilingual students are given the opportunity of developing their heritage language by lessons in mother tongue instruction. The students are supposed to “receive credence in their language ability possibilities to develop their cultural identity and become multilingual” (Skolverket 2011:87,our translation).  The saying of the syllabi implies that the students are expected to be able to be functional bilinguals, which however seem to be impossible in the Swedish-centered school where almost all lessons are performed in Swedish. The uneven proportions between the educational languages disadvantage bilinguals and split up their language experiences, and so considerably reduce their chances to become coequally bilingual.

Following Baker (2001) that translanguaging may help the developing of the weaker language the aim of this study is to investigate and discuss the possibilities of becoming coequally bilingual after having had both mother tongue subject and three years’ of strategically planned translanguaging in the classroom.

Translanguaging researchers (i.e. Garcia 2009; Garcia & Wei, 2014) regard language ability as an inwrought and complex proficiency that is compounded by all language experiences, and languages cannot be regarded as defined entities. Skills in the mother tongue are shown to support both second language development and learning in other areas. Access to mother tongue instruction has significance for multilingual pupils’ literacy development as well as personal and cultural identity, emotional and social maturity, and cognitive development (Cummins & Schecter, 2003; Janks, 2010). They suggest that students’ linguistic potential should be utilized in all teaching in order to strengthen their identity and for them to achieve optimal learning and development in their languages.

This study includes nine 12 years old students who have studied mother tongue subject in Russian, Bosnian or Arabic all through their start in the Swedish school. They have also participated in translanguaging education activities for three years in other school subjects. The conclusion of this is that they have been exposed to an unusual amount of bilingual education compared to other bilingual students in Swedish compulsory schools.

The material consists of suveys, interviews and a collection of written texts from a period of three years. To evaluate the written language development the texts have been analyzed quantitatively with lexical and syntactic variables. The quantitative results of the text analysis have been compared and  reflected to other variables as onset of Swedish, students' evaluations of the afforded learning and assessments of   own language skills. 

Results display large variations in bilingual development between the students. The time of onset does not seem to be a decisive factor, while students' confidence in their own language skills plays a major role. According to the answers in the survey the confidence can be both strengthened and weakened by the parents' and teachers' attitudes towards the value of multilingual skills. The survey also show that translanguaging elements in education have mattered regarding the students’ possibilities to assimilate factual subjects. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Bilingual, language development, language ability, multilingual, translanguaging
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences; Humanities, Swedish as a Second Language
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-62770OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-62770DiVA: diva2:1092316
Conference
Translanguaging - researchers and practitioners in dialogue,Örebro University, Sweden, 28-29 March, 2017
Note

Ej belagd 170505

Available from: 2017-05-02 Created: 2017-05-02 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved

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Torpsten, Ann-ChristinSvensson, Gudrun
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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Output format
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