Kategoriarkiv: thesis


Kortekangas, Otso. 2017. Tools of teaching and means of managing: Educational and sociopolitical functions of languages of instruction in elementary schools with Sámi pupils in Sweden, Finland and Norway 1900–1940 in a cross-national perspective. Doctoral thesis, Stockholm University. Database post. Contact Otso Kortekangas for full text.


This dissertation contributes to recent research on Sámi education from two different angles. First of all, the dissertation pioneers as a cross-national study of the education of a cross-national population previously mainly studied within different nation states. With its theoretical framework of institutional and sociopolitical functions of languages of instruction, the dissertation also places a strong focus on why different Sámi varieties were or were not prioritized as languages of instruction in elementary schools with Sámi pupils in early twentieth century Sweden, Finland and Norway. Studying what functions of languages of instruction regional educational authorities, Sámi teachers and a number of other Sámi actors prioritized in the institutional and sociopolitical contexts sheds new light on the language policies within the elementary education systems of Sweden, Finland and Norway. Also, the focus on cross-nationalism points out tendencies that earlier research on the educational history of the Sámi has missed when the focus has been within, rather than across, national borders. These findings include examples of cross-national recontextualizations that lay bare a conditioned awareness of the policies in the neighboring countries among the regional educational authorities. This awareness was conditioned since language policies in neighboring countries were viewed through the lens of the home country of the authorities. What also emerges in a cross-national analysis is a certain active rather than re-active Sáminess, unbound by the national borders of Sweden, Finland and Norway. These findings should not be taken as attempts to construct essentialising notions of pan-Sáminess in the early twentieth century. Rather, they are calls for opening up research frameworks to include other frames than the nation states of today.


Reath Warren

Reath Warren, Anne.  2017. Developing multilingual literacies in Sweden and Australia: Opportunities and challenges in mother tongue instruction and multilingual study guidance in Sweden and community language education in Australia. Doctoral thesis, Department of Language Education, Stockholm University. Database postFull text.


This thesis aims to learn about opportunities for and challenges to the development of multilingual literacies in three forms of education in Sweden and Australia that teach or draw on immigrant languages.  In Sweden mother tongue instruction and multilingual study guidance are in focus and in Australia, a community language school. Taking an ecological approach to the research sites, the thesis investigates how language ideologies, organization of the form of education and language practices impact on the development of multilingual literacies. A range of linguistic ethnographic data including 75 lesson observations, 48 interviews, field notes and photographs has been analyzed against the theoretical backdrop of the continua of biliteracy (Hornberger, 1989; Hornberger & Skilton-Sylvester, 2000), heteroglossia (Bakhtin, 1981) and emerging theories of translanguaging (García & Li, 2014) to investigate the questions. The thesis ties together the results of four interlocking case studies investigating the above-mentioned forms of education.

Study I analyses the syllabus for mother tongue instruction in Sweden and finds that while aligning with the overall values of the curriculum for the compulsory school, a hidden curriculum constrains implementation. In Study II, multilingual practices during multilingual study guidance in Sweden are analysed, and demonstrate how translanguaging helps recently arrived students reach the learning goals of subjects in the Swedish curriculum. In study III, systematic analysis of indexicals reveals contrasting language narratives about language and language development in and around a Vietnamese community language school in Australia. Study IV focuses on mother tongue instruction in Sweden and through analysis of audio-recordings of lessons, interviews and field notes, finds three dimensions of linguistic diversity infuse the subject.

Opportunities for the development of multilingual literacies are created when there is equal access to spaces for developing literacies in different immigrant languages, within which language ideologies that recognize and build on the heteroglossic diversity of students’ linguistic repertoires dynamically inform the organization of education and classroom practices. Challenges are created when monoglossic ideologies restrict access to or ignore linguistic diversity and when there is a lack of dynamic engagement with implementation and organization. Basing organization, and classroom strategies around the linguistic reality of the students and the genres they need, benefits the development of multilingual literacies in both settings and can help students become resourceful language users (Pennycook, 2012b, 2014).



Walldoff, Amanda.  2017. Arabic in Home Language Instruction: Language Acquisition in a Fuzzy Linguistic Situation. Doctoral thesis, Stockholm University. Database link. Full text


This thesis investigates the command 8th-graders in Arabic home language instruction have of written Modern Standard Arabic and if the type of instruction they have received and/or contact with written Arabic affect their performance. Background chapters discuss variables connected to the Arabic language (diglossia, research on reading and writing in Arabic) and variables connected to HLI in Sweden (set-up, steering documents).

The testing material consisted of a translation test from Swedish to Arabic combined with a questionnaire that addressed various factors of relevance to language acquisition.

The translations were analysed on three levels: (1) handwriting, (2) spelling and (3) morphosyntax. The main result of the analysis was that the participants were highly heterogeneous: some participants produced incomplete translations in handwriting that was barely legible, whereas others had good results for all measures. Many of the participants relied on a phonological strategy for spelling. For example, even short, high-frequency words such as personal pronouns and prepositions had not been spelled correctly.

The results for handwriting, spelling and morphosyntax were checked against the variables (1) years of HLI, (2) extra instruction in Arabic outside of HLI and (3) contact with written Arabic in the free time. The results for the effect of participation in HLI were inconclusive. However, many, but not all, of the participants with good results on the translation test had received extra instruction in Arabic, either in Sweden or prior to coming to Sweden. Reading Arabic in the free time was not in all cases connected to good results, but not reading Arabic in the free time was in most cases connected to a low command of written Arabic. Regarding these results, it is suggested that additional factors (motivation, support from the family, etc.) could be at play.

Previous research has addressed the question of heterogeneity in HLI classes. The findings of this thesis illustrate how great the heterogeneity can in fact be, and thus have implications for the set-up of Arabic HLI in Sweden.