[DISE Matters] Anna Slotte, "Multilingual practices and learning in and outside school –some examples from Finland"


Location: Room 233, Education building, 3700 McTavish

Anna Slotte, University of Helsinki

"Multilingual practices and learning in and outside school – some examples from Finland"

"In Finland, there are parallel school systems for Finnish-medium and Swedish-medium schools at all educational levels. As a consequence of the growing number of multilingual students in Swedish-medium schools (mostly multilingual speakers of Finnish and Swedish), there is a need for constant focus on language in all subjects.  In these multilingual settings, the development of academic language and disciplinary literacy are therefore crucial to students’ success, and teachers must balance the need to emphasize the language of instruction (Swedish) with confirmation and support for other languages – especially the majority language Finnish. I have conducted school ethnographic video research, mostly in upper secondary schools, but also at other school levels, with a focus on language across the curriculum.

"For their extracurricular activities, children typically join either Finnish- or Swedish-medium groups that uphold the monolingual norm from the school. But there are also multilingual groups where the leaders use two or three languages as parallel language use, responsible code-switching or as translanguaging. ln my research projects, I have video recorded interactions between children and between children and leaders in two different contexts: at soccer practice and at a nature-based summer camp. During these activities, children from Swedish- and Finnish-medium schools meet. When analyzing these kind of multilingual learning practices, an essential question for me is, “In what way can we understand content and language learning in relation to multilingual practices?”.

"In my talk, video data from both classroom interaction as well as from children’s extracurricular activities will be discussed. 

"I am an Associate Professor and University lecturer at the Swedish medium teacher education at the University of Helsinki, Finland. My primary fields of research are multilingualism, school/video ethnography and (digital) literacy. I am especially interested in language across the curriculum and how multilingualism is related to learning and identity in children’s and youths’ everyday life, in and outside school. I am a member of the Nordic Excellence Centre “Justice through Education” (justed.org). I have been assigned to work with the core curriculum for basic education at the National Board of Education. Since March 2016, I am the President of NERA, Nordic Educational Research Association."

-Anna Slotte