English Only i Multilingual Classrooms? A Study of Students' Self-Reported Practices and Attitudes

Marie Källkvist, Henrik Gyllstad, Erica Sandlund, Pia Sundqvist

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English Only in Multilingual Classrooms? A Study of Students’ Self-Reported Practices and AttitudesA pressing issue in multilingual education is when to draw on students’ multilingual repertoires to enhance learning and promote equity (Cummins 2017; Kramsch 2009). Classroom research in L2 learning supports multilingual/translanguaging practices (e.g. Lee & Macaro 2013; Zhang 2018), but much of this research involves participants who had acquired the same L1 prior to having classroom exposure to English (L2). The present study breaks new ground by focusing on multilingual participants with different L1s: Participants are either simultaneous bilinguals of Swedish (the majority language) and a heritage language (such as Somali), or L1-speakers of their heritage language, learning both Swedish and English in a high school in Sweden. Triangulated qualitative data were collected in 2018 in two groups of students (age 14-15): ethnographic observation (14 English lessons), student questionnaires and interviews (18 students) and an interview with their teacher. With an analytical framework rooted in bilingualism/multilingualism (Baker & Wright 2017), concepts such as ‘language dominance’, ‘age of onset’, ‘heritage language’, ‘majority language’ and ‘school language’ were applied in qualitative analysis. As a basis for studying students’ attitudes, the classroom observations revealed that the teacher used mainly English; Swedish was restricted to metalinguistic explanations, translations of vocabulary, and information pertaining to task requirements and grading criteria. Student interviews revealed that the majority stated that they benefit from their teacher’s explanations in both English and Swedish, of Swedish translation equivalents, and of task and grading information verbalized in both English and Swedish. Students with lower proficiency in English expressed a greater need for Swedish. Students who were dominant in their heritage language expressed a need to draw on the heritage language, although not necessarily in the classroom. An important implication is the value to students of certain information being provided both in the target language (English) and in the school language (Swedish).
StatusPublished - 2019
EvenemangAmerican Association of Applied Linguistics - Atlanta, USA
Varaktighet: 2019 mars 92019 mars 12


KonferensAmerican Association of Applied Linguistics
Förkortad titelAAAL

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