Teacher Beliefs and Practices: Multilingualism in English Classrooms

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Recent statistics on language diversity among pupils in Swedish secondary school classrooms show that 24% have another L1 than Swedish. Thus, classrooms are multilingual spaces. In the English subject, an 'English Only' ideology dominates, where classrooms are exclusively English-medium, an ideology endorsed by educational policy, agencies like the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, and teacher educators (Källkvist, Gyllstad, Sandlund & Sundqvist, in press). However, there is no clear empirical evidence supporting such an ideology, and recently an 'English Mainly' alternative has been suggested (Corcoll López & González-Davies, 2016). Still, a best practice remains unexplored. The project presented here is aimed at researching ideology and best practice in language-diverse English classrooms. For the purpose of mapping teacher beliefs and practices relating to the use of English and other languages in English classrooms, a questionnaire aimed at targeting 6 relevant constructs was created and administered to a stratified, random sample of English teachers in years 6-9 across Sweden. Based on responses from 139 teachers (response rate: 43 %), results show that 66 % harbour beliefs that align with an 'English Only' ideology. Although 98 % report a general, positive outlook on multilingualism, 16-22 % state that multilingualism is a problem in either their school or teaching of English. Whereas 45 % reported that they often talk about how to teach in multilingual classrooms, only 15 % had received specific training by their employers. Implications of these and other results are discussed, together with the reliability and validity of the questionnaire itself as a measure of the targeted beliefs and practices.


External organisations
  • Karlstad University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Languages


Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2018 Jun 20
Publication categoryResearch
EventExploring Language Education: Global and Local Perspectives - Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 2018 Jun 182018 Jun 20


ConferenceExploring Language Education
Abbreviated titleELE 2018
Internet address

Related projects

Marie Källkvist, Henrik Gyllstad, Erica Sandlund & Pia Sundqvist

Swedish Research Council


Project: Research

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