Conflicting language ideologies versus uniform language management. Heritage Language education in Swedish schools: Heritage Language education in Swedish schools
2012 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
This paper examines how local school politicians and school leaders reflect on the role of heritage language education in Swedish mainstreaming schools. The idea is to explore which language ideologies are attached to this specific language management mechanism. The attitudes of local school politicians is of particular interest in the Swedish context because Sweden has had a decentralised school system within which it is the task of the municipal educational boards to ensure that the educational activities are conducted in compliance with state regulations and guidelines.
Language ideologies are defined as beliefs or values attached to individual languages and to phenomena such us bilingualism and multilingualism. Language management refers to the explicit efforts of individuals, groups and institutions to modify the practices and beliefs of actors within a certain domain (Spolsky 2004, 2009:4). In this case the domain under scrutiny is the school.
In Sweden the introduction of heritage language education for children with immigrant minority background goes back to the 1970s when it was established with the intention to promote the development of active bilingualism. A municipality is required to organize heritage language education in any given immigrant language if at least five students have the right to and wish to study it and if there is a teacher available. The criterion for the right to instruction is that the child uses the given language in communication with family members at home.
The study is based on 6 focus group and 35 individual interviews with school politicians and school leaders in six different middle-sized cities (80-150000 inhabitants) in which the rate of children with immigrant background is 18-25 percent.
My preliminary results indicate the presence of two conflicting language ideologies: the language ideology of multilingualism and the language ideology of mainstreaming. Most school politicians and school leaders embrace the argument that heritage language education is an asset and an important part of the education of children with an immigrant background. Nevertheless at the same time they promote a language management mechanism which recognises linguistic difference but does little for the students’ multilingual development.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84875OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-84875DiVA: diva2:562774
NFPF/NERA's 40th Congress: Everyday life, education and their transformations in a Nordic and globalized context, 8-10 Mars 2012, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark
ProjectsSvenska som enhetsspråk
FunderSwedish Research Council, 72120085034