Plurilinguisme et migrations - Colloques

The Migration Seminar: Teachers’ beliefs on multilingualism and multilingual students: A Q-study in Sweden and Switzerland

Last Updated: 19 Nov 2018

6th December 2018, MIM seminar room, 9th floor, Niagara, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö University


This study investigates educational language ecologies in two multilingual European countries. The main focus is put on teachers, the key decision-makers in implementation processes of policy documents, and their potential internal dilemmas concerning questions of language, in particular multilingualism.

Forty primary school teachers in Sweden and 67 primary school teachers in Switzerland participated in the study and provided their holistic understanding of the concept of multilingualism and their suggested pedagogical action regarding the increased cultural and linguistic diversity in schools by completing a Q study. Two Q samples with a total of 72 items were constructed using various relevant sources. Participants were then asked to rank-order all items in relation to their agreement with the statements. The dedicated software PQMethod was used for the statistical analysis.

The emerged teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism and multilingual students are presented qualitatively and showcase the complex nature of the phenomenon under scrutiny. Overall, the beliefs of teachers in both countries are rather positive towards multilingualism, showcasing a more professional stance. Negative viewpoints are present as well and reflect a more personal and political origin of teachers’ beliefs. Possible challenges and implications for a successful implementation of multilingual pedagogical approaches are discussed.

For the MIM Migration Seminar, the focus will be put on the Swedish context, using Switzerland as a reference. Moreover, aspects connected to questions of migration will be traced in the beliefs of the teachers.

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