Research group Multilingualism on my mind

Our projects

Here are summaries for some of the group members' projects.

School work and shoes

Raees CalafatoTeachers’ multilinguality, language awareness and metalinguistic practices in the classroom

With many governments around the world now implementing educational initiatives at the school level that promote proficiency in multiple languages among students, there has arisen a need for teachers who embody the successful multilingual learner and who have the appropriate experiential knowledge, beliefs and awareness of language to encourage their students to become proficient in additional languages. My study explores language teachers’ (English and other languages) multilinguality, language awareness, and multilingual practices in secondary schools in Norway and Russia using an interdisciplinary approach that draws from sociolinguistics, psychology and applied linguistics. As an action research intervention, it explores secondary school language teachers’ multilingual identity, metalinguistic awareness, and multilingual classroom practices using a comparative approach while also seeking to raise their awareness of multilingualism and associated practices.

André StortoDevelopment of multilingual and multicultural identity in secondary school

André's main research interest within the bigger project UNGSPRÅK is to investigate the role of English learning in fostering multilingualism among secondary-school students. The English language is usually perceived as an ambivalent force when it comes to promoting multilingualism among schoolchildren. On the one hand, it has a great potential for awakening the interest for learning new languages. As a global lingua franca, it allows students to expand their network of relationships and to communicate with people from all over the world. On the other hand, it could be argued that the knowledge of English acts as barrier for learning new languages. Because it is a global lingua franca, most students could feel demotivated to invest their time in learning other foreign languages since “everybody” in the world speaks English. Furthermore, he wants to look into the new discursive practices propitiated by digital technologies to gain a deeper understanding of how young people appropriate themselves of different languages and other semiotic resources to become multilingual individuals.

Irina Tiurikova: The correlation between language learning and the development of multicultural identity

Following previous research in the field of identity studies and individual multilingualism (Brewer, Pierce 2005; Dewaele, Li Wei 2012, 2013), the current research assumes that multicultural identity development is linked to individual multilingualism. However, it chooses to emphasise the role of language learning in the process of multicultural identity development and investigates to what extent lower secondary school students in Norway develop multicultural identity in a FL classroom context. The research methodology includes both quantitative and qualitative methods, such as UNGSPRÅK and Multicultural Personality Questionnaires, and Autobiography of Intercultural Encounter (based on the principle of autobiographical narration). This mix-methods approach provides comprehensive analysis of the correlation between the research variables.

Gro-Anita MyklevoldOperationalizing multilingualism and exploring multilingual identities across language subjects at the upper secondary school level in Norway

Through ‘the multilingual turn’, there has been a paradigm shift in how language learning is perceived (May 2013; Ortega 2013), however some claim that this paradigm shift has been mainly theoretical and has thus not had a great impact on how languages are taught in classrooms around the world (Paquet-Gauthier & Beaulieu 2016). Several studies in Norway also report that teachers lack knowledge of multilingualism and how to operationalize it (Dahl & Krulatz 2016; Haukås 2016; Haukås & Speitz 2018; Krulatz et al. 2018). This PhD-study thus explores 1) how multilingualism may be operationalized 2) how teachers and students perceive the operationalization and 3) to what extent pupils and teachers identify as multilinguals. To avoid a rigorous separation of language subjects in my project, I have included pupils and teachers of English, French, German and Spanish.

Maj Schian Nielsen: Grammar didactics in L3-German teacher education in Denmark and Norway

With a theoretical background in systemic functional linguistics (Halliday 2014 [1985]; Andersen & Holsting 2015), this project combines a contrastive description (Vold 2018) of the grammatical phenomenon diathesis with language awareness (Haukås 2018). The research will be carried out through observations in German grammar courses at university level supported with interviews with several lecturers of these courses and by analyzing university textbooks. The main questions to be answered throughout the project are: 1) (How) are the students made aware of the possibility to use linguistic knowledge from their L1 (Danish or Norwegian) and L2 (English) as a language learning strategy? 2) Is this metacognition introduced to the students as a fruitful tool for their own teaching in a multilingual classroom in the future? Based on the findings, the project aims at giving some suggestions on how to include additional language awareness as a didactic principle in grammar teaching.

Aasne Vikøy: Conditions for encouraging multilingualism in the Norwegian L1 subject

The Norwegian L1 classroom can be considered a melting pot of students with diverse language backgrounds. Since knowledge and awareness of one’s L1 are regarded as important for the development of one’s identity, the L1 subject plays a significant part in the school education. A discussion about the content and objectives of the Norwegian L1 subject is particularly relevant today, especially in light of the changes to the curriculum. This is because, while many students are multilingual, Norwegian L1 instruction continues to be characterized by a "monolingual bias" and faces sustained pressure from multiple sides. For example, it is influenced both by The Education Act, which takes a problem-oriented view of multilingualism, and by the National Curriculum, which adopts a more positive view of multilingualism as a resource. This project seeks to identify the process of reformulation required to employ multilingualism as a resource not only at the curriculum level and in terms of planning, but also with respect to school practices. Based on competence objectives issued by the State, she aims to analyze the multilingual content found in school textbooks and relate these to Norwegian L1 teachers` and students` beliefs about multilingualism.