Utdrag Enacting Multilingualism

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Anna Krulatz, Anne Dahl and Mona Evelyn Flognfeldt

Enacting Multilingualism From research to teaching practice in the English classroom


Table of Contents Acknowledgements................................................................................................ 9 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 11 PART I KEY CONCEPTS IN MULTILINGALISM AND MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION ................................................................... 17 Chapter 1 Multilingualism in Scandinavia ........................................................................... 19 1.1 Language diversity in Scandinavia, with a focus on Norway ................. 20 1.2 Norwegian language policy ......................................................................... 24 1.3 The status and role of English in Scandinavia .......................................... 26 Chapter 2 How languages are learned .................................................................................. 31 2.1 Common language learning and teaching terminology ......................... 32 2.2 Different types of language learning .......................................................... 35 2.3 Different types of language competence .................................................. 37 Chapter 3 First and second language acquisition .............................................................. 41 3.1 First vs. second language acquisition ......................................................... 42 3.2 Age and acquisition ....................................................................................... 44 3.3 Is there a critical period for language acquisition? .................................. 45

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Chapter 4 Types of bilingualism and multilingualism ....................................................... 53 4.1 What is bilingualism? ................................................................................... 54 4.2 Types of bilingualism ..................................................................................... 54 4.3 Bilingual competence .................................................................................... 58 4.4 Bilingualism and multilingualism ................................................................ 58 Chapter 5 Multilingual competence ...................................................................................... 63 5.1 Language interaction in multilinguals ........................................................ 64 5.2. Multilingualism as multicompetence ........................................................ 68 Chapter 6 Learning a third or additional language ............................................................ 77 6.1 Learning L1, L2, and L3 .................................................................................. 78 6.2 How learning L3 is different from learning L2 .......................................... 80 6.3 Why multilingualism is not a problem ....................................................... 81 6.4 The benefits of being multilingual .............................................................. 83 Chapter 7 Individual and social complexity of multilingualism ...................................... 89 7.1 Multilingualism as a complex phenomenon ............................................. 90 7.2 Multilingualism as a dynamic system ....................................................... 91 7.3 Multilingualism as a social phenomenon .................................................. 94 7.4 Dominant language constellations ............................................................. 95 Chapter 8 Multilingualism and identity ................................................................................ 101 8.1 Language and identity ................................................................................... 102 8.2 Integration into a new language and culture ............................................ 105 8.3 Creating inclusive classrooms ..................................................................... 106 Chapter 9 Multilingual literacies ........................................................................................... 111 9.1 Defining literacy ............................................................................................. 111 9.2 Literacy development in bi- and multilinguals ......................................... 114 9.3 Multiliteracy in the classroom ..................................................................... 116

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PART II ENACTING MULTILINGUALISM IN THE CLASSROOM ............................... 119 Chapter 10 The multilingual turn in the teaching of English ............................................. 121 10.1 The multilingual turn in education ............................................................. 122 10.2 Dynamic multilingualism ............................................................................. 127 10.3 Learners as emergent multilinguals ........................................................... 128 10.4 Multilingual pedagogy .................................................................................. 129 10.5 The position and role of English in multilingual education .................... 130 Chapter 11 Translanguaging as a classroom pedagogy ..................................................... 137 11.1 What is translanguaging? ............................................................................ 138 11.2 Translanguaging at home ............................................................................. 138 11.3 Main principles of translanguaging as a pedagogy ................................. 139 11.4 Implementing translanguaging in the EFL classroom ............................. 143 Chapter 12 Strategies-based instruction in a multilingual classroom ............................ 151 12.1 Strategies in the multilingual English classroom ..................................... 152 12.2 Communication strategies ........................................................................... 153 12.3 Learning strategies ........................................................................................ 154 Chapter 13 Fostering multiliteracy .......................................................................................... 163 13.1 The importance of explicit literacy support .............................................. 164 13.2 Previous knowledge as a bridge to the development of multiliteracy . 167 13.3 Reading activities and strategies ................................................................ 170 13.4 Writing activities and strategies ................................................................. 173 Chapter 14 Differentiated instruction .................................................................................... 179 14.1 Principles and components of differentiated instruction ....................... 180 14.2 Differentiating for language competence ................................................. 181 14.3 Differentiating instruction using the theory of multiple intelligences . 182 14.4 Differentiating instruction using Bloom’s taxonomy and CEFR proficiency levels ...................................... 188

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Chapter 15 Integrating language and content in a multilingual English classroom .... 195 15.1 What is content-based language teaching (CBLT)? ............................... 196 15.2 Planning CBLT lessons .................................................................................. 200 15.3 Model CBLT project: Language constellations ......................................... 201 15.4 Model collaborative task: Linguistic landscapes ..................................... 202 Chapter 16 Identity texts ........................................................................................................... 207 16.1 Identity and education .................................................................................. 207 16.2 What are identity texts? ............................................................................... 208 16.3 Identity texts in the classroom .................................................................... 210 Chapter 17 Inclusive teacher talk in the English classroom .............................................. 219 17.1 Traditional classroom interaction pattern: Initiation-response-evaluation vs. dialogic interaction .......................... 220 17.2 Deliberate language choice ......................................................................... 222 17.3 Proleptic instruction ...................................................................................... 224 17.4 Inclusive teacher talk .................................................................................... 228 Chapter 18 Teaching English to very young multilingual students .................................. 233 18.1 Language portrait of the very young multilingual student ..................... 234 18.2 Assimilative, supportive, and inclusive classroom practices ................ 237 18.3 Linguistically Appropriate English Practice (LAEP) ................................ 239 18.4 Deep language learning ................................................................................ 241 Chapter 19 Assessing multilingual learners ......................................................................... 251 19.1 Types of assessment ..................................................................................... 252 19.2 Authentic and differentiated assessment ................................................. 255 19.3 The use of rubrics .......................................................................................... 258 Chapter 20 Involving the parents and other teachers ......................................................... 265 20.1 Involving parents in multilingual classrooms ........................................... 266 20.2 Involving other teachers when teaching English in multilingual classrooms ...................................................................................................... 272 Index .......................................................................................................................... 281

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Acknowledgements This book is an outcome of our shared interest in multilingualism, as well as of many years of collaboration with teachers who work daily to improve their students’ opportunities to grow into confident, capable multilinguals. We are grateful for the inspiration these teachers have given us. To give back to the community, a part of the profits from the sales of this book will be donated to initiatives administered by the coordinators of Flere sprük til flere Trondheim that support multilingualism. Cappelen Damm has been supportive and enthusiastic about our work. Special thanks go to Maria R. Braadland for her ongoing guidance and support, as well as to Yulia Rodina, our reviewer, for generous and perceptive feedback. Any remaining errors are our own. Finally, we also want to express our thanks to our families, without whose steadfast support we would never have been able to devote all the time that was needed to create this volume.

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Introduction Enacting multilingualism. From research to teaching practice in the English classroom has been designed as a practical guide for English teachers who work with linguistically and culturally diverse students, mostly in Scandinavian contexts. Our goal has been to present the material in a way that is accessible for teachers and teacher trainees who are reading about multilingualism for the first time. This book contains a comprehensible and comprehensive overview of theoretical concepts related to the study of multilingualism, mostly with a focus on how to enact pedagogies that support multilingual development in the English language classroom. Multilingualism is a complex phenomenon that comes in many forms. In some European contexts, a distinction is made between plurilingua­ lism and multilingualism. Plurilingualism refers to knowledge of multiple lang­uages by an individual, whereas multilingualism is defined as a societal phenomenon when languages coexist within a community. In this book, however, we use the term multilingualism to cover both phenomena, and we focus in particular on multilingual students learning English in a classroom setting in Scandinavia. There are some very specific reasons why we think this book is needed. In recent years, immigration to Scandinavia has risen steeply. The increase in numbers of refugees as the result of conflicts in other parts of the world has importantly changed the demographics in Scandinavian societies, including the schools. Another important reason for the higher numbers of immigrants is the European Single Market, of which all the Scandinavian countries are members. This agreement ensures the free movement of workers between member states, and especially at times of 11


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economic crises elsewhere in Europe, immigrants from a number of countries have sought work in Scandinavia, often arriving with their families. With increased immigration comes increased language diversity. Refugees as well as work immigrants speak a number of languages which are still relatively new to Scandinavia, and, naturally, they arrive with little or no knowledge of Scandinavian languages. Since many immigrants come as families, the number of minority language and multilingual students in our schools is also increasing. This includes both students who are born in Scandinavia and who have grown up with their home language in addition to the majority language such as Danish or Swedish, and children who are themselves quite recent immigrants and whose competence in Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish may therefore be rather low. The extent to which multilingual students need extra support, and the benefits and potential drawbacks of their linguistic backgrounds when entering school, obviously depends on their competence in the majority language, among other factors. It is therefore crucial that teachers and policy makers with influence over these children’s education have an understanding of what multilingualism is, why it should be supported, and how this can be done. Unfortunately, so far, such issues have not been given a very central role in our mainstream teacher training programs. The tendency has been to introduce topics that deal with multilingual realities only to those who pick certain specializations such as Norwegian/Swedish/ Danish as a second language or special education during their training, rather than as a core element included in all subjects in teacher education programs. Thus, multilingualism is largely treated as an exceptional phenomenon relevant to the few, rather than a common aspect of everyday life. One of the major goals of this book is to highlight the ways in which multilingualism is beneficial to both societies and individuals. These areas are abundant: competence in more than one language has obvious practical benefits for education, travel, and career prospects, it may have positive consequences for cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural understanding, and a number of studies indicate that it may have certain cognitive benefits. Crucially, as we will stress repeatedly throughout this book, there is no necessary link between multilingualism and lower competence in a given language or in overall school achievement. It is perfectly possible and normal to be 12


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fully competent in a number of languages, and knowledge of one language is normally beneficial, not detrimental, to competence in another language. Similarly, learning and using several languages at the same time does not hinder children’s ability to learn content in other subjects at school. Reasons for the monolingual bias described above probably have nothing to do with ill will, but rather a lack of awareness of and knowledge about multilingualism among professionals working in the school system. As already mentioned, teacher training in Scandinavia has traditionally had a monolingual focus, and many teachers feel that they do not know enough about multilingualism to work effectively with students with language backgrounds other than the majority language. While multilingualism is not new to Scandinavia – since there is a continued presence of minority languages – the region is characterized by fairly monolingual traditions and relatively strong monolingual ideologies. This is, for example, reflected in language policies in education, which tend to have a stronger emphasis on helping students achieve competence in the majority language than on (also) helping them maintain their home languages. Such policies promote a negative rather than positive image of multilingualism since they focus on areas where multilinguals may compare unfavorably with other learners. The monolingual bias in the education system is a democratic problem in that it can lead to the exclusion of those with low competence in the majority language, and the marginalization of the ethnic and linguistic backgrounds of minorities. If schools are unable to provide equal education for all students, opportunities for further education and employment may be limited for young people with minority language backgrounds. In turn, this also leads to social and economic inequality, and makes it difficult to create inclusive societies for everyone living in the region. Furthermore, attitudes in schools that dismiss multilingual competence and marginalize minority languages may lead to groups of students feeling alienated not only in school but also in society at large, with severe consequences for their sense of belonging and citizenship. An increased understanding of the phenomenon of multilingualism and of the linguistic rights and needs of minority language speakers is therefore necessary throughout the school system. In addition, teachers need practical knowledge of how to teach in multilingual classrooms, and 13


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how to use strategies and activities that benefit all their students. This book aims to provide both theoretical and practical insights into teaching in multilingual classrooms, with a special focus on the English classroom. We consider it important to stress that English teachers as professionals have a special responsibility for advocating multilingualism and the value of both minority and majority languages. While multilingualism is increasing in Scandinavia due to increased demographic mobility, another factor breaking down our monolingual traditions is the special role of English in the world today. Competence in this language is a necessity in a range of professional and social situations to an extent that has never before been the case with a foreign language. In fact, on a global scale, English is no longer perceived as either a native or a foreign language, and the term English as a lingua franca has become central to describe its role as a means of communication between speakers who do not share a mother tongue – even when no native speakers of English are present. In the Scandinavian countries, English enjoys a particularly central role alongside the countries’ official languages in areas such as media, academia, and business. Thus, in order to prevent marginalization of minority language students, it is crucial that all students, regardless of background, gain solid competence in English for further education and work prospects. The ubiquity of English also means that many students, regardless of home language, may achieve relatively high competence in English, beyond what has traditionally been the case in foreign languages, and that they can thus be seen as users of English in addition to learners in a way that is somewhat new to foreign language pedagogy. Thus, all our students may be fruitfully viewed as emergent bi- or multilinguals when we consider their development in English. This, in our opinion, makes a book about multilingualism with English particularly relevant in today’s Scandinavian context. This book is organized as follows. In Part I, we discuss a number of theoretical concepts and issues that are crucial for understanding multilingualism and for working with multilingual students in a way that benefits their continued multilingual development. This includes different types of language competence, the relationship between starting age and language acquisition, the effect of multilingualism on the individual, and 14


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the relationship between the languages of a multilingual. In Part II, we build on this theoretical knowledge to discuss its practical applications to teaching English, with specific examples of activities that can be used in the multilingual classroom. As we have mentioned above, our focus is on the Scandinavian context, but since all three authors live and work in Norway, many of our examples refer to this context as the one we are most familiar with. However, both the theoretical background and the practical examples are designed to be relevant regardless of the specific curriculum being used or the differences that may exist between school systems in the Scandinavian countries. We hope that this book will help English teachers working with multilingual students better understand the unique qualities and needs of these learners. Our goal is to prompt the teachers to reflect on their pedagogical practices and to help them become advocates for equality and equity of education for all students in their schools and communities.

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PART I KEY CONCEPTS IN MULTILINGALISM ANDÂ MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION


Chapter 1

Multilingualism in Scandinavia In this chapter, we explore the following topics: – Language diversity in Scandinavia, with a focus on Norway – Norwegian language policy – The status and role of English in Scandinavia

Key Terms Autochthonous – Native of an area, not living there as the result of migration or colonization. The term is used synonymously with indigenous. Dialect – A regional variety of a language, with a local vocabulary, grammar and accent. Domain loss – A situation when a local language is no longer used in specific professional domains because a more widespread language takes over due to its more developed terminology in these fields. Endangered language – A language that is at risk of becoming extinct. Degrees of endangerment range from vulnerable (when the language is not spoken by children outside the home), definitely endangered (not spoken by children), severely endangered (only the oldest generation speak it), and critically endangered (only a few of the oldest generation use it and in limited domains). Indigenous – Originating where it is found, deriving from Latin, and meaning “native.” The term is used synonymously with autochthonous.

Language policy – Decisions made by governments and other stakeholders about how languages are used, protected, promoted and maintained. Lingua franca – A contact language (system) which serves as a common means of communication by speakers of different first languages. Minority languages – Languages spoken by minority groups living in territories dominated by a majority language; they include national minority languages (see below) as well as minority languages spoken by immigrants. National minority languages – Languages used by historical groups of people who occupy territories in a state, and who are a minority in that state. Revitalization – The process of restoring a threatened language by means of various methods, for instance through teaching, developing learning materials, grammars and dictionaries and the distribution of information in a more general sense.

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Reflection 1. How would you describe the linguistic diversity in your country to a foreigner who is interested in languages? 2. Why do you think Scandinavians in general are considered very good at speaking and understanding English? 3. To what extent do you think of English as a serious competitor to the Scandinavian languages in the domains of media, professional life, and education?

1.1

Language diversity in Scandinavia, with a focus on Norway

In this chapter, we will discuss language diversity in Scandinavia using Norway as a specific example. Historically speaking, Norway, Denmark and Sweden have been multilingual communities for centuries. Immigration to these countries has always been, and still is, motivated by economic, political, social and other factors. Even though we often have the impression that multilingualism started developing when immigration to Scandinavia really got under way around the middle of the 20th century, with a fairly large number of people arriving from Pakistan, Turkey and other countries to find opportunities for work, the picture is very different once we consider the historical diversity of groups of people already living in various regions of the three neighboring countries. In the next few paragraphs, we explore some of the factors that must be borne in mind if we wish to get a realistic overview of the multilingual diversity of Scandinavia. It will become clear that the three countries have a lot in common not only in regard to demographic characteristics and language policies but also the role and status of English in society and in education. We will start by taking a closer look at the groups of people inhabiting the three countries, their legal status and their languages. The Sami population has a special status as a minority people. Geographically, it is spread across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, and the Sami are recognized as an indigenous or autochthonous people. This 20


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implies that they are considered native to the land they live in – they are not there as a result of colonization or immigration. Since the Sami people are protected by an international agreement, the International Labor Organi­­ zation (ILO) convention, their rights, including their languages, religion and culture, are safeguarded by the constitution of a ratifying country. The Norwegian government ratified the ILO convention in 1999. There are several varieties of spoken Sami, and there are three written standards in Norway, namely North Sami, South Sami and Lule Sami. In contrast to the Sami population, there are other minority groups in the Scandinavian countries that are not defined as indigenous, but as regional minorities. Their languages are recognized as national minor­ ity languages and are protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Council of Europe is responsible for this treaty, and the signatory states themselves have the cultural-political responsibility for securing the linguistic rights of these national minorities. In Norway, the following minorities are protected as a consequence of this policy: the Kven people, Forest Finns, Norwegian Romani, Romanes, and Jews. In Denmark, the German minority in South Jutland is considered a national minority, and in Sweden, the following languages are protected as national minority languages: Finnish, Yiddish, Meänkieli (sometimes referred to as “Tornedal Finnish”), and Romani chib (Swedish Romani). Of these, Meänkieli is used in six municipalities in the north of Sweden. This language is related to Finnish, Estonian and the Kven language spoken in Norway. Yiddish is considered a national minority language in Sweden. In Norway, it is not, but the language is currently experiencing a revival (NDET, 2015). In the following paragraphs, we will give a brief description of some of the national minority languages in Norway, starting with the Kven language. Today, this language is used as an everyday language by some 2000 people in Norway. It is closely related to Finnish and spoken mainly in North Troms and Finnmark. Kven is recognized as a severely endangered language, which means that only the oldest generation speaks it (NDET, 2015). Throughout history, the Kven population has been the object of suspicion and suffered discrimination from the majority population, partly because of a fear of Russian expansion after the 1850s. As a counter strategy, a “Norwegianization policy” started in 1851, lasting until the beginning of 21


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the 20th century. Official apologies have been expressed, but the process has had serious consequences for many people and for the state of the language. A process of revitalization is taking place, however. For example, a grammar of the Kven language was published in 2014 (Söderholm, 2014). This grammar was made available in Norwegian in 2017, in connection with the celebration of the Norwegian Kven Association’s 50th anniversary. Another Norwegian national minority people, called “Forest Finns,” speak Norwegian today, but they originally spoke a Finnish dialect. Curr­ ently, only a few single words are in use, including place names. The Forest Finn variety of Norwegian is characterized by an intonation that sounds a bit like Finnish. The territory associated with this national minority group is close to the Swedish border in southeastern Norway. The last national minority groups in Norway are the Romani people and the Romanes. Romani is sometimes used as a collective name for the languages that have emerged from the Balkan region between 1100 and 1300, originally coming from the Punjabi regions of India and Pakistan via Asia Minor. However, the two national minority languages are treated as separate languages in official documents. In the past, other terms were used for the two, some of which had a negative ring to them. The Romani people were referred to as Travelers. An alternative Norwegian term was tater (possibly derived from the word Tartar), often used derogatively, but today reconstructed by the Romani community itself as a neutral name in order to value the origin of their culture. Similarly, Romanes people were sometimes referred to as gypsies in the past. They came from Russia and central Europe, bringing their language with them, which in turn was influenced by the grammar and prosody of Norwegian and Swedish. The rights of national minority people are protected by law, but their history includes periods of an active assimilation policy, often referred to as Norwegianization. One part of this policy, affecting Sami, Kven and Romani groups, was that for many years language minority children were forced to speak only Norwegian at school. Today, some schools with a high percentage of language minority learners still forbid these children to speak their home languages at school. The question is whether these local Norwegianization practices are conducive to effective and inclusive education for all. These are issues to which we will return throughout this book. 22


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What the national minority languages mentioned so far have in common is the fact that they all originate elsewhere. Sign languages are different in this respect. They are officially recognized as minority languages in the Scandinavian countries. Sign languages are the mother tongues of deaf people, characterized by their own grammar and vocabulary. We distinguish between Danish, Norwegian and Swedish sign languages. There is one group of minority languages that we have not yet mentioned: the mother tongues of all the recent immigrants to the Scandinavian countries. These languages are often referred to collectively as more recent minority languages. They do not enjoy the same protection by legal conventions as national minority languages, but in Norway they fall within the responsibility of the Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet). More than 150 different languages are represented in Norway today. In January 2018, 17.3 per cent of Norway’s population were immigrants or the children of immigrants (Statistics Norway, 2018). Whereas the first immigrant groups to Norway after the 1950s came from countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Iraq, Eritrea, the Philippines and Vietnam, at the beginning of 2018, the majority were speakers of Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Somali and German (Statistisk sentralbyrå, 2018). Most third-generation immigrants are still very young, less than 18 years old; most of them have grandparents from Pakistan, Turkey and Morocco. More recently, the greatest growth is seen in immigration from Syria. The reasons why people leave their countries of origin are varied. Some of the newcomers are work immigrants, while others are refugees, asylum seekers or other humanitarian migrants, fleeing from situations of war and great insecurity. When it comes to the majority language in Norway, Norwegian itself, it is helpful to distinguish between the way it is spoken and the way it is written. As in the other Scandinavian countries, there are a number of spoken variants or regional dialects across the country. Norwegian has two written standards: bokmål (BM) and nynorsk (NN). Historically speaking, as a result of more than four hundred years of Danish rule in Norway, BM is heavily influenced by Danish. In very simple terms, BM has emerged as a localized form of written Danish. By contrast, NN was constructed by Ivar Aasen in the middle of the 19th century on the basis of Old Norse and some regional dialects, particularly western Norwegian ones, as an endeavor to give Norway its own language when a sovereign, independent nation state 23


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was being built. Today, the two written standards have an equal status, but BM is used by more people than NN, and for that reason, it takes a cons­ cious effort from language-political institutions to monitor and promote the use of NN in official settings.

1.2 Norwegian language policy So far, we have been describing languages and speakers of various languages in Norway. We turn now to a brief overview of important aspects of Norwegian language policy. In many respects, the other Scandinavian countries are in a similar situation and face the same sort of challenges as Norway, but there are important differences. In varying degrees, the three countries are all taking measures to resist the growing influence of English, acknowledging the risk of domain loss – of English taking over as a first option in specific societal domains, such as tertiary education and research. A related shared language-political initiative reflects the need to maintain and develop the national languages in Denmark, Sweden and Norway as complete and adequate societal languages, with linguistic resources for effective and precise expression of meaning. The main difference between the three countries is that Sweden is alone in having passed a language law. This law articulates the principles, aims and guidelines for the use of Swedish and other languages. The law came into force in 2009 as a measure to ensure the realization of Sweden’s national language policy. In 2010, a further law was passed specifying the rights of national minorities and minority languages. When we think about the language policy in a particular country, we often turn to official documents produced by authorities at the national level. However, this appears to be a rather limited view of language policy. We would like to argue that any stakeholder in institutions where language use is a vital component may be influential when it comes to language policy, contextualized at their particular level. Not least, this is the case for teachers in the classroom who, for example, decide which language to use in their English classes, and school principals, who can choose to enact the policy of Norwegian only at their school. We will have more to say about different consequences of this policy in Part II of this book. 24


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Even though Norway does not have a separate language law, it does have an expressed language policy. In 2008, a white paper was presented to parliament expressing a holistic national language policy. From our perspective, being particularly concerned with the role of English in multilingual settings, an important mandate for this white paper was the promotion of Norwegian as an adequate societal language, in perceived competition with English in certain domains of professional life, for instance in finance, business corporations, and higher education. A national policy has to be enacted in practice. In Norway, at the moment of writing, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for language matters, and the Ministry of Education and Research is in charge of education, including language education and integration. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernization is responsible for Sami and minority affairs, reporting back to the Council of Europe on issues pertaining to the way the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is realized. Issues of immigration are the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. This means that matters relating to minorities and languages in Norway are distributed between four ministries. The Scandinavian countries all have language councils responsible for the consolidation of their respective language policies. Responsibility for the enactment of Norwegian language policy is delegated to the Language Council of Norway. This advisory institution is active in promoting educational policies which build on language policies. Since 2015, a shift in focus has taken place in that the Language Council, which used to be chiefly concerned with the state and maintenance of the Norwegian language (not least, the balance between BM and NN), is now responsible for all language use in Norway (Orvik, 2015). This is an important shift and a step towards ensuring sustainable linguistic diversity. The mandate now being language in Norway rather than the Norwegian language means that the more recent minority languages are included. However, as we have already explained, these do not have the same linguistic rights as the officially recognized languages. In fact, the main objectives of the Language Council are: 1) strengthening the status of Norwegian in threatened areas in society, 2) promoting Norwegian as an adequate and well-functioning language for culture and active use, and 3) securing linguistic diversity and the interests of language users (Language Council of Norway, n.d., para. 2). This 25


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mandate includes supervising issues that concern BM and NN, promoting precise language use in official contexts, and making sure there is Norwegian terminology in important areas, thereby offering alternatives to English terms. The Language Council has a special advisor for Norwegian sign language and for the minority languages Kven, Romani, Romanes and the more recent minority languages. It also arranges an annual minority language day. A final note about Norwegian language policy is that Norway cooperates with the other Nordic countries about common interests in regard to Danish, Finnish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian, Faroese, Sami and Swedish. It is an expressed language-political ambition that Norwegians comprehend neighbor languages Danish and Swedish. As a member of the Council of Europe, Norway is also encouraged to teach and promote traditional foreign languages. The most frequently taught foreign languages besides English are French, German Spanish and Russian, but languages such as Mandarin Chinese and Japanese are also offered in some schools. According to the Education Act (Opplæringslova, 1998), some learners are entitled to (a) instruction in their first language, (b) separate classes in order to acquire Norwegian well enough to benefit from ordinary teaching through the medium of Norwegian, or (c) bilingual education, again as a compensatory and transitional measure. There are strict rules for how children are screened and assessed before they are given the special language-instruction offers listed here. School principals are responsible for ensuring that their learners’ rights to customized Norwegian, bilingual education, or L1 instruction based on needs are respected, and in each instance the principal is responsible for informing the child’s parents. The child’s parents or caregivers have to agree to the extra offer.

1.3 The status and role of English in Scandinavia The status and role of English is fairly similar across the Scandinavian countries. We will refer to the situation in Norway as our primary example, but include some discussion of developments in the other Scandinavian countries. English was introduced as a subject in urban schools in Norway as early as 1939 and taught in the last years of elementary school. It was up to the municipality to decide whether or not to offer English. Later, in 1969, English was made obligatory in all Norwegian schools, starting in 4th grade. A sign of the centrality of 26


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English in Norwegian education is that since an educational reform in 1997, English has been taught from the very first grade at school and, in some places, even introduced through songs, rhymes and play in pre-school. In Sweden and Denmark, municipalities were entitled to decide whether to delay the onset of English instruction until 3rd or 4th grade for many years. Today, both Swedish and Danish schoolchildren start learning English from 1st grade. English is recognized as a useful tool for intercultural communication and as a medium for the individual’s personal growth and development in that it offers access to literature, film, music and other cultural expressions. It may seem surprising that English in Norwegian school settings is treated differently from other foreign languages. The most obvious evidence of this difference in status is that English has a subject curriculum of its own and the other foreign languages have one common curriculum called Foreign Languages. In this book, we are particularly interested in multilingualism with English as one of the languages used and taught in Scandinavian classrooms. English has acquired a unique role and status in the Scandinavian countries as a result of many different historical, political, economic, cultural and social processes. It is officially defined as the “first (or primary) foreign lang­uage” in Norway (MER, 2004); it is a first both because of its importance in various domains of our lives, and because it is also the first additional language taught at school along with Norwegian (or Sami in designated regions). Other foreign languages may be introduced in 5th–7th grade, but are generally offered only after elementary school. The considerable presence of English in the media, the fact that it is used as a working language in business and professional life, and the fact that a lot of the course material in higher education is in English show that this language plays a very prominent role in Norway, as well as in the rest of Scandinavia. We know that a lot of exposure to a language is vital for acquisition to take place. One of the reasons why so many Norwegians understand English and are able to use it at least at a basic level is that films and other TV programs in English are not dubbed but are supplied with Norwegian subtitles. Moreover, in the new Internet-based media, the presence of English is considerable. Young people who enjoy online games and other technological resources develop useful strategies through communicating with international gamers and, for example, through reading or listening to user manuals and instruc27


chapter 1

tions. What is special about English is that even if you do not study an academic subject or work in a multinational company, you will need it as a contact language with people who do not speak or understand your own language when you travel or communicate with visitors from abroad. Summing up, this chapter has demonstrated how the language situation in Norway and the other Scandinavian countries is characterized by a high level of complexity and diversity. With so many minority languages at play in various communities, many children grow up with more than two languages. They use the language they acquire at home along with the majority language, which is the main language of instruction at school. In addition, they all have to learn English from their first year at school. Research has shown that many teachers feel they lack the required competence to meet the challenges and to capitalize on the opportunities of their multilingual classrooms (Dahl & Krulatz, 2016). These teachers deplore their own lack of knowledge about multilingualism as a phenomenon and about how multilingual learners learn. In addition, they feel a need for a repertoire of useful teaching strategies and practical ideas for their classrooms. This book aims to address all these needs. The remaining chapters in Part I of this book offer insights into various theoretical issues pertaining to multilingualism and language acquisition. In Part II, you will find concrete ideas about how English can be taught in an inclusive and effective way in multilingual school settings. Discussion questions/activities 1. When schoolchildren in Scandinavian countries learn English, what kind of English do you think they should have as their target model? Should they try to sound like native speakers of English, or should they be content with their foreign-sounding accent? 2. To what extent do you believe that knowledge about multilingualism increases tolerance for linguistic diversity? 3. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement “Mainstream schools which do not grant minority languages a special role and value give children and young people a signal that minority languages are unimportant and worthless�? Justify your view with specific reasons.

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multilingualism in scandinavia

Suggested further reading Dansk sprognævn [Danish Language Council]. (n.d.). About the Danish Language Council. Retrieved from https://dsn.dk/om-os/about-the-danish-languagecouncil This website offers information in English about the Danish Language Council, and Danish language policy and legislation. Institutet för spark och folkminnen [Language Council of Sweden]. (n.d.). In English. Retrieved from http://www.sprakochfolkminnen.se/om-oss/kontakt/ sprakradet/om-sprakradet/in-english.html This is the official website in English about language cultivation in Sweden. It is produced by the Swedish Language Council. Språkrådet [Language Council of Norway]. (n.d.) Språkrådet [Language Council of Norway]. Retrieved from http://www.sprakradet.no/ This is the website of the Language Council of Norway, the official mouthpiece of Norwegian language policy.

References Dahl, A., & Krulatz, A. (2016). Engelsk som tredjespråk: Har lærere kompetanse til å støtte flerspråklighet? Acta Didactica Norge, 10(1), n.p. doi: 10.5617/adno.2397. Language Council of Norway (n.d.). Språkrådet.no. Retrieved from http://www. sprakradet.no/Vi-og-vart/Om-oss/English-and-other-languages/English/ MER [Ministry of Education and Research] (2004). Country Report Norway: Language Education Policy Profile 2003-2004. Retrieved from https://www.coe. int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Country_Report_Norway_EN.pdf Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training [NDET] (2015). Norway’s national minorities. Retrieved from https://www.udir.no/globalassets/filer/ samlesider/nasjonale-minoriteter/nasjonale_minoriteter_eng_trykk-01.02.pdf Opplæringslova. (1998). Lov om grunnskolen og den vidaregåande opplæringa [Education Act] Retrieved from http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19980717-061.html Orvik, S. A. (2015). Språkrådet ti år. Språknytt, 1/2015. Retrieved from http:// www.sprakradet.no/Vi-og-vart/Publikasjoner/Spraaknytt/spraknytt-2015/ spraknytt-12015/sprakradet-ti-ar

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