AcEngMulCla: Acquisition of English in the multilingual classroom

Research – Department of Teacher Education

AcEngMulCla: Acquisition of English in the multilingual classroom

Norway is becoming a more diverse society. As more immigrants enter the country, they bring with them their cultures and languages. This also means that English teachers face an increased level of cultural and linguistic diversity in their classrooms, as many of the students they work with are multilingual, i.e., they speak more than two languages. Previous research shows that English teachers in Norway are not sufficiently prepared to work with multilingual populations, and further work is needed to help the teachers meet the needs of their multilingual students. With English being the world’s major language for intercultural communication, it is crucial that the multilingual students are given an equal opportunity to acquire English successfully. In this project, we investigate how young multilingual speakers learn English and how they progress through the years of schooling. We examine what they are able to do in English – what their written English looks like and their spoken English sounds like – and how they are able to use their multilingual skills in achieving the learning aims in the curriculum for the English subject. We will work in close collaboration with a school that has a large multilingual student population. In addition, because English teachers need more knowledge about acquisition of English and language development, professional development for teachers and collaboration between teacher educators and practicing English teachers is needed. We want to identify the skills and practical abilities teachers need to make English language teaching in multilingual settings more efficient and to be able to draw on students’ resources in the classroom. Multilingualism is also a focus in the new MA program in English Education at NTNU, and the findings will directly inform our teaching on the program. We would also like to examine how Master’s students can best be involved in research projects on multilingualism in the English classroom.