On Friday 7th May 2021 at 13:00-15:30 (UK Time), 14:00-16:30 (Sweden), 15:00-17:30 (Finland) we hosted an online seminar for participating schools, aimed at teachers working in multi-lingual contexts, with experts from each of the three countries. This seminar was organised by the Swedish members of TEAMS and was attended by participating schools and TEAMS members. Below you can see the seminar agenda, the speakers’ short professional biographies, talk abstracts, and the speakers’ presentation slides.
The program for the day was (in UK time):
13:00 Welcome and short introduction
13:10 Does language spoken at home matter for the education, wellbeing and belonging of children of immigrants? (Elina Kilpi-Jakonen, University of Turku)
13:40 “I go to teachers conferences, but I do not understand what the teacher is saying”: Somali Parents’ Perception of the Swedish School. (Ali Osman, Stockholm University)
14:10 Short Break
14:20 Creative Collaboration and Artmaking that Matters for Intercultural Language Teacher and Learner Identities in Multilingual Welcoming Environments (Maryam Almohammad, University of Edinburgh)
14:50 Final Remarks
Speaker biographies and abstracts
Elina Kilpi-Jakonen is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Academy Research Fellow at the Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State (INVEST) research flagship center and the Department of Social Research, University of Turku, Finland. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, UK, and has also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bamberg, Germany, and the European University Institute, Italy. Her research interests include children of immigrants and intergenerational social inequalities
Abstract: Does language spoken at home matter for the education, wellbeing and belonging of children of immigrants?
In many countries, there is a growing concern regarding the learning outcomes and wellbeing of children of immigrants. In a number of studies the disadvantages they face have been specifically linked to speaking a language other than that of instruction at home. However, many studies do not explicitly compare students who have switched languages with those who continue to use the language of (parental) origin at home. We address these shortcomings by using PISA 2018 data from a subset of countries in order to identify young people from foreign language backgrounds who have switched home languages. We analyse four dependent variables: educational achievement (reading test scores), educational expectations, and two measures of wellbeing (sense of belonging to school and positive affect). Our results suggest that the pattern of language use at home is in most cases not systematically associated with subjective wellbeing or educational expectations. However, in some countries switching the home language from that of the country of parental origin to that of the destination country is associated with a higher sense of belonging to school and in a number of countries with higher reading scores. A few countries stand out as having no penalties for students maintaining the language of parental origin.
Ali Osman is an associate professor at the Department of Education, Stockholm University. My research until recently has focused on integration practice in different settings of adult education targeting refugees. My research has now shifted to look at the transition of immigrant children and young adult within and between the educational system and work from different vantage points.
Abstract: “I go to teachers conferences, but I do not understand what the teacher is saying”: Somali Parents’ Perception of the Swedish School.
The study that I will be presenting examines how Somali parents and Swedish teachers relate to each other and how the nature of the relationship impacts the school experience of their children. The study is inspired by and combines the insight and concept of social capital developed by Coleman and Bourdieu. The empirical data for this study was collected through focus group interviews with eight Somali parents (7 women and 1 male). The interviews took about three hours each and all the parents contributed equally to the conversation. The parents we interviewed have lived in Sweden for a minimum of five years. The interviews were conducted three times in a two-year period. The study shown that self and institutional exclusion of the parents is a consequence of the lack of material, ideational, and bridging resources in relation to the children school experience.
Maryam Almohammad is a language educator at the Institute for Language Education, the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh. She conducts research in the field of language, identity, investment and ethnography. While working at the Department of Education, University of the West of England, she also gained expertise in creative collaborative art approaches, language and migration, multilingualism, and critical intercultural education in English as an additional language context in England.
Abstract: Creative Collaboration and Artmaking that Matters for Intercultural Language Teacher and Learner Identities in Multilingual Welcoming Environments.
Art-based methods have been proposed as being particularly valuable in opening up individual explorations of aspects of identities at a time of global migrations (Phipps, 2019). In the AHRC large grant Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, the Law and the State (RM@borders), researchers and artists worked collaboratively across professions (the law, global mental health, state institutions) and disciplines (clinical psychology, education, law, languages) to explore uses of language when people face pain and pressure while at the same time conceptualising and using creative arts methods as a form of language. This presentation reports findings from The Creating Welcoming Learning Environments (CWLE) project which was a follow-on project from the RM@borders. The CWLE built on this work by exploring the potential benefits for teaching and learning of connecting the creative arts methods developed in the RM@Borders project for learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL). The CWLE was achieved through a “creative collaboration”, using John Steiner’s conceptualisation (2000), bringing together creative artists, school-based teachers and teaching assistants, local authority advisory teachers and university researchers. These groups collaborated to explore, in primary, secondary and special schools in England, how specific creative techniques: using music, textiles, drama, film making, crafting, poetry and the spoken word can support a) children’s developing English language skills and b) children’s developing identities, including as multilingual language users.
We hope to be able to share Maryam Almohammad’s presentation slides soon.