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.

Abstract

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).