Teaching in the ‘edgelands' of the school day: The organisation of Mother Tongue Studies in a highly diverse Swedish primary school

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To promote attainment and inclusion, Sweden offers tuition in migrant pupils’ mother tongues as a regular school subject. However, the formulation of learning aims is problematic, and resources allocated to the subject do not correspond to ambitions expressed in steering documents. This case study presents an analysis of the organization of Mother Tongue Studies at a highly diverse urban primary school, based on interviews with teachers and head teachers. The practical organization of Mother Tongue Tuition affects how mother tongue teachers and pupils are perceived, but also potentially provides opportunities for empowerment and educational development. Results indicate that in the investigated case, such opportunities are not exploited, placing mother tongue teachers in a state of continuous structural stress, while limiting the forms their teaching relationships can take. Additionally, scheduling the school subject Mother Tongue Studies at the ‘edgelands' of the school day contributed to further marginalizing languages taught as mother tongue and minimized interaction with class teachers.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences
  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Mother tongue instruction, intercultural organisational development, Sweden, minority languages, teacher collaboration, language in education policy, scheduling, mother tongue teachers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-254
JournalPower & Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 2
Publication categoryResearch