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Language Policy for Migrant Children in Sweden


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Presentation by Amor Segerhammar and Ann-Charlotte Karnermo (Language Center Gothenburg, Sweden) at the Rutu Roundtable on Multilingual Education for Migrant Children in Europe.
The Roundtable was hosted by Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands and was held on 6 November 2015.
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Language Policy for Migrant Children in Sweden

  1. 1. Language policy for migrant children in Sweden Amor Segerhammar and Ann-Charlotte Karnermo, Language Center Gothenburg, Sweden RUTU ROUNTABLE MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR MIGRANT CHILDREN IN EUROPE 6 NOVEMBER/ UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS 11:50-12:05 /
  2. 2. Language Center We educate world citizens through language and culture
  3. 3. Government Regulations and Policies 3 • Language policy adopted by the Swedish Parliament in 2005 and the Language Act of 2009 • Swedish as the main language in Sweden • Mother tongue studies is a school subject and has its own separate syllabus which also concern literature, history and culture of the country origin. • Mother tongue teaching is compulsary in comprehensive (7-15 yrs old) and upper secondary level (16-18 yrs old). • First language support is offered to children in pre-school.
  4. 4. Mother Tongue Teaching 4 • The municipality have the overall responsibility for the provision of mother tongue teaching in schools. • The municipality will only arrange teaching in the mother tongue if there is a suitable teacher and there are at least five pupils who want teaching in the language. • Mother tongue teaching is available to students providing the mother tongue is a living language at home and the students have a basic level of proficiency in the language. • In the case of Sweden’s official minority languages (Samish, Meänkieli, Romani, Finnish and Yiddish), mother tongue teaching can also be provided to children who do not speak the language in a daily basis at home.
  5. 5. 10 most frequent mother tongues in compulsary school (2013/2014) 5
  6. 6. Positive Effects of Mother Tongue Teaching 6 Students who regularly participate in mother tongue teaching: • Have higher marks in Swedish, English and mathematics • Have better command of Swedish than other multilingual students • Are more confident and enjoy school better than other multilingual students • Have better understanding of abstact concepts than other multilingual students • Learn a lot about their new country • Constitue a bridge for integration into the new culture • Students who feel more secure and attain their goals can lead to reduction of costs in society. (Hyltestanstam, Tuomela 2006)
  7. 7. Mother Tongue Teachers 7 • Conducts language training, mother tongue teaching and study guidance • Acts as support to the other teachers, parents and families • Mother tongue teaching is commonly taught in separate classes both before and after regular classes. • Study guidance is provided both before and after regular classes as well as integrated in the schedule.
  8. 8. Assessment Tests for Migrant Students • Mother tongue teachers conduct assessment tests for students entering the education system or during their education. • The main purpose is to look at their needs before they are placed into school and to be able to tailor the education for every child individually.
  9. 9. Pedagogical Skills Development for Mother Tongue Teachers 9 • Further education in Mother tongue curriculum and syllabus • Core values • Computer technology and web-based learning • Teaching methods and strategies in reading and writing acquisition • Assessment testing courses • Study guidance skills
  10. 10. The Language Center in Gothenburg 10 • 10 500 students in compulsory school • 1 447 students in upper seconday school • 300 mother tongue teachers representing 70 different languages • 1 executive director, 7 principals • 4 administrators • 2 computer technicians
  11. 11. Services Provided by the Language Center 11 • We organize classes in mother tongue and modern languages • Give examinations in both mother tongue and modern languages • Provide study guidance Students who have not yet learned enough Swedish to be able to follow lessons are given study guidance to have the content of subject/lessons explained in their mother tongue • Assessment testing Assessment tests for students entering the education system or during their education, to tailor the education for every student individually • Provide classes in web-based distance learning
  12. 12. Our challenges 12 • Recruiting teachers with educational degree • Tougher demands for students who participate in mother tongue education • Mother tongue education must be given higher status and become an integral part of schools • Meeting needs of pupils which are likely to be mixed ages and standards • Lack of cooperation with other classes and other teachers • Teaching outside school hours • Economic resources according to school priorities
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