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English first Policy and practice in a Swedish EMI primary class
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
Number of Authors: 12017 (English)In: Journal of Immersion and Content Based Language Education, ISSN 2212-8433, E-ISSN 2212-8441, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 214-237Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This case study explores the questions of how national and local education policies address languages of instruction for a Swedish compulsory school offering English-medium instruction (hereafter EMI) as well as how these policies are interpreted and implemented in practice. Critical discourse analysis provides a framework for examining the relationship between stated and enacted policies at the various institutional levels. Methods from linguistic ethnography yielded rich data including classroom observations, interviews, and artifact collection over a period of three school years in grades four through six. Findings from the study reveal discourses of language hierarchies, a native speaker ideal privileging English and practices that reflect varying degrees of language separation. While Swedish is occasionally used to support English-medium content learning, there is little space for students' mother tongues in the mainstream classroom. The findings from this study have implications for how stakeholders may put language-in-education policies into practice in EMI programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 5, no 2, p. 214-237
Keywords [en]
English-medium instruction, content and language integrated learning, bilingual education, English in Sweden, primary school, practiced language policies, language hierarchies, native speaker ideal, language separation
National Category
Languages and Literature Educational Sciences
Research subject
Language Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149925DOI: 10.1075/jicb.5.2.03totISI: 000415127200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149925DiVA, id: diva2:1164847
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-05-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. English-medium instruction for young learners in Sweden: A longitudinal case study of a primary school class in a bilingual English-Swedish school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>English-medium instruction for young learners in Sweden: A longitudinal case study of a primary school class in a bilingual English-Swedish school
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to highlight the policies, perspectives, and practices of language use in a bilingual English-Swedish primary class during Grades 4–6, where English was the medium of instruction in several subjects. A rapidly increasing number of Swedish compulsory schools offer these programs, which are often associated with high status and academic achievement (Skolverket, 2010). Although several studies have investigated content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and English-medium instruction (EMI) at upper secondary schools in Sweden, there is little research on such programs for young learners in the Swedish context. As students may start learning English in Swedish schools as late as Grade 3, young learners who begin attending English-medium programs in Grade 4 may have limited knowledge of English, which can have implications for their content learning. 

In this thesis, which is situated within an ecology of language framework (van Lier, 2004), questions about language ideologies, teacher and learner beliefs regarding teaching and learning in an additional language, and translanguaging practices have been explored in the three studies included here. Data has been collected over three school years within the larger longitudinal case study, including policy texts, informational brochures, schedules, statistics, instructional materials, student texts, audiorecorded interviews with 13 members of staff and 22 students, audiorecorded lesson observations, fieldnotes, and photos of the school and classroom landscape as well as of instructional materials and student texts. 

Study I, which focused on stated and practiced language policies concerning languages of instruction in an EMI program in a Swedish compulsory school, revealed a linguistic hierarchy privileging English and a native speaker ideal. While Swedish was also valued as the other language of instruction, minoritized languages such as multilingual students' mother tongues were marginalized. Likewise, in Study II, which explored stakeholder beliefs about the EMI program, it was found that while English was highly valued among the participants and Swedish was considered to be a source of support for students in the English-medium classroom, other languages were mostly invisibilized in the mainstream classroom. However, despite a prevailing belief that students learned English naturally through language immersion by being "forced" to use it to communicate with the native English-speaking teachers, there were also concerns about implications for students' development of subject-specific Swedish. Finally, in Study III, analysis of language choices in English-medium Science and Mathematics lessons revealed how the use of English and Swedish could function as resources for teaching and learning

Although the findings from this case study may not necessarily apply to other English-medium programs, they nonetheless have implications for policymakers at the national and local levels, as well as for teachers and students involved in such programs. Ideological assumptions about languages and language learning have been shown to shape both policy and practice within educational contexts such as the school in this study. It is therefore imperative that stakeholders are made aware of the challenges involved with teaching and learning in an additional language, so that these programs can be organized in a way that promotes content learning as well as learners' multilingual development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Language Education, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 130
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i språkdidaktik - Dissertations in Language Education ; 12
Keywords
English-medium instruction (EMI), content and language integrated learning (CLIL), bilingual compulsory school, English in Sweden, young learners, native speaker teachers, language ideologies, translanguaging
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Language Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-156273 (URN)978-91-7797-310-2 (ISBN)978-91-7797-311-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-08-31, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted.

Available from: 2018-06-07 Created: 2018-05-15 Last updated: 2018-06-04Bibliographically approved

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