Lundberg, Adrian (2019). Teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism: Findings from Q method research. Current Issues in Language Planning, 20(3), 266-383. (Open Access). (doi: 10.1080/14664208.2018.1495373) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2018.1495373)
Abstract: This study explores teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism and multilingual students in Swedish primary schools. The aim is to support a better-informed discussion about teachers’ decision-making in linguistically diverse classrooms in the European nation-state. The use of Q method combines qualitative and quantitative data analyses. Q material applied in the present study provided the participants with all the necessary language to describe their beliefs. Two Q sets of statements––one regarding the understanding of the phenomenon and the other concerning suggested pedagogical responses in relation to current multilingualism––were constructed using a variety of sources. The participants are forty teachers, predominantly female, employed at three different primary schools in southern Sweden. Applying inverted factor analysis and abductive interpretation, three sets of teachers’ beliefs emerged and descriptions represent the teachers’ complex views about multilingualism in the classroom. Overall, teachers’ beliefs are rather welcoming towards multilingualism and multilingual students and recent concepts with growing acceptance in literature, such as translanguaging, are well accepted. However, sceptical views, often based on monolingual ideologies, are present and are likely to pose challenges for the implementation of pluralistic policies. This study contributes to an open debate about benefits and challenges of current multilingualism in education.
Adrian Lundberg <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a PhD student in the Department of School Development and Leadership, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden, with current research interests focused on educational language policy and multilingualism in the Nordic countries and Switzerland.