As part of a “Notes from the Field” series, guest bloggers and teacher educators Dr. Anna Krulatz and Dr. Mona Evelyn Flognfeldt provide some insight on L2 teacher education in multilingual Norway.
Like other Scandinavians, Norwegians are generally considered to be highly proficient in English. The national curriculum underscores the importance of English as an international language, and children in Norway learn English beginning in first grade (see the Norwegian curriculum for English). For school-age immigrant and refugee children, this policy means that they learn two additional languages on placement in the schools: Norwegian and English.
In the teacher education programs where we work, namely at the Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim (NTNU), changes are already under way. At HiOA, multilingualism is offered as a unit in undergraduate courses preparing teachers for grades 1–7 and 5–10, in-service courses, and as part of our master’s-level course. Units include an introduction to multilingualism as a phenomenon, potential differences between learning English as a second and third (or later) language, and teaching English in diverse classrooms. A brief introduction to language typology and word order patterns is incorporated, and the student teachers are encouraged to reflect on their own multilingualism. The sound systems of various languages represented in class are described, and students practice pronouncing unfamiliar sounds and later compare them with English sounds. Cognates in English and other languages are also discussed.
At NTNU, both undergraduate students and in-service teachers enrolled in the EFL endorsement program take a module on second language acquisition that covers the basics of multilingualism and multilingual education. Stephen May’s “The Multilingual Turn. Implications for SLA, TESOL and Bilingual Education” and Suresh Canagarajah’s “Translingual Practice. Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations” are listed in our syllabi as recommended texts, and in one of the assignments, students are required to devote at least one paragraph to explaining in what ways they believe the specific needs of multilingual students should be addressed in the EFL classroom.
The new national guidelines for English teacher education also recognize this need to reform English teacher training and list knowledge about multilingualism as a resource in the classroom as one of the learning outcomes. The Norwegian curriculum for English specifies that learners should be able to draw comparisons between English and their “mother tongues,” thus acknowledging the presence of first languages other than Norwegian in EFL classrooms. Additionally, the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training has designated funding to support professional development of in-service teachers that focuses on foundations of multilingualism and teaching strategies for linguistically diverse classrooms. Nevertheless, continued work on raising teacher awareness and revising teacher education curricula with multilingualism in mind are needed. As well, we see a need for teacher training materials designed specifically with Norwegian EFL teachers in mind.
Jessner, Ulrike (2008). Teaching third languages: Findings, trends, and challenges. Language Teaching, 41(1), 15–56.
Anna Krulatz is Associate Professor of English at the Faculty of Teacher Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, where she works with pre- and in-service EFL teachers. Her research focuses on multilingualism with English, pragmatic development in adult language learners, content-based instruction, and language teacher education.
Mona Evelyn Flognfeldt is Associate Professor of English Language Pedagogy at Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway. She currently teaches continuing professional development courses for English teachers in primary and lower secondary school. Her primary interests are vocabulary development, grammar in context, and teaching English in multilingual and diverse classrooms.