Recently arrived students in Swedish upper secondary school

– a multidisciplinary study on language development, disciplinary literacy and social inclusion. A research project within the research program migration and integration.

Project leader: Päivi Juvonenexternal link

Project period: 2018-2022

Seat of learning: Linnaeus University

Project title: Recently arrived students in Swedish upper secondary school – a multidisciplinary study on language development, disciplinary literacy and social inclusion (NyGy, 2018-2022)

What is the project about?

The current project describes, analyses and discusses a hitherto under-researched area of recently arrived students’ schooling: their linguistic and academic development and social inclusion in upper secondary school. Recently arrived students who start their schooling in upper secondary school usually begin in a Language Introduction (LI) program, which offers Swedish as a second language as the main subject.

The rationale behind the program is that in order to be able to follow instruction in Swedish in the mainstream class, students need to learn Swedish. Education in the LI program is also to be individually adapted to each student’s needs, competences and capabilities according to an individual study plan conducted after evaluation of the students’ previous subject knowledge. It may thus, also include education in other academic and vocational subjects, both at compulsory school level and at the level of upper secondary school.

Hence, the introductory program is intended to be transitional and the students are supposed to quickly move on to one of the national programs. In the LI classroom, students who have started their schooling in compulsory school but are not qualified to start at a national program in upper secondary school study alongside students who have just arrived in Sweden. The result is a heterogeneous student body with varying profiles in terms of years in Sweden, school background, grounds for staying in Sweden, country of origin, future plans and proficiency in Swedish, factors known to co-variate with school success.

Research questions

  • What content is taught in LI?
  • How is the content taught in LI?
  • What kind of Swedish as a second language development can be seen during the time the students are enrolled in LI?
  • What kind of academic development, measured in terms of grades passed, can be seen during the time the students are enrolled in LI?
  • What kind of instructional support is offered to the students in LI?
  • What are the opportunities for inclusion in the mainstream for recently arrived students?

The data analysed is collected through linguistic ethnographic methods (participant observation, classroom recordings, linguistic landscaping), written documentation of the students’ development, texts written by the students, policy document, interviews, formative assessment and surveys.

To analyse qualitative data we apply linguistic ethnographic methods and to analyse language data we apply systemic functional linguistics and basic linguistic theory. In quantitative analyses standard statistical methods are applied. The data is collected in a large city and two minor municipalities in different parts of Sweden.

Participants

Participants in the project represent three different Higher Education institutions (Linnaeus University, Stockholm University and Dalarna University) as well as different scientific disciplines (educational linguistics, bilingualism research, educational sociology, pedagogic work) with different theoretical and methodological approaches (language development, disciplinary literacy, inclusion). The team has ample experience of research within their respective areas of expertise, as well as collaboration over disciplinary boarders.

The research is conducted in close collaboration with practitioners in order to collaboratively create new knowledge that can contribute to the development of the education of newly arrived students in upper secondary school, as well the organisation of the school form.

PublISHED ON 11 September 2019

UpDATED ON 29 November 2019

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