Wednesday Seminar [Closed]: Multilingual students, mainly monolingual classroom: Beliefs and practices of a vocational program subject teacher

Mari J. Wikhaug Andersen (Doctoral Research Fellow at MultiLing) reports on initial results from her in-progress PhD project, "Translanguaging in the majority classroom: a study of teachers’ beliefs, practices and students’ linguistic citizenship."


In this talk, Andersen will present a preliminary analysis of teacher beliefs (e.g. Pajares, 1992) and language ideologies based on data from an in-depth interview with a teacher of a mainstream upper secondary vocational class. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1986; 1991) theories of capital and the concept of linguistic market, she compares the teacher’s reported and observed practices and their explicit beliefs about the students’ and their own linguistic behavior in the classroom.

The preliminary analysis shows that while there are clear inconsistencies in the teacher’s statements, much of their thinking and practices correspond, and may be indicative of an underlying monoglot ideology (Silverstein, 1996; Blommaert, 2009). The teacher’s beliefs and practices are implicitly and explicitly linked to their understanding of the newly arrived multilingual students’ professional prospects and the social organization of the classroom.

In her talk, Andersen also touches on the recently implemented Core Curriculum (Ministry of Education and Research, 2017), in which the view of multilingualism as a resource is explicit and prevalent. She shows that while the Curriculum is expected to carry into the classroom, in the case of this classroom, it does not seem that the resource view has been adopted and implemented. These initial results are valuable in light of the recent changes to the Curriculum, as it demonstrates a mismatch between the goals of the reform and the current situation.

Andersen’s talk is a preparation for a conference paper, which is to be given later this month. The seminar participants are invited and encouraged to engage in a discussion of the data and the preliminary analysis after the talk.



Blommaert, J. (2009). Language, Asylum, and the National Order. Current Anthropology, 50(4), 415-441.

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The Forms of Capital. In I. Szeman & T. Kaposy (Eds.), Cultural Theory: An Anthology (p. 81-93). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Ministry of Education and Research. (2017). Core curriculum – values and principles for primary and secondary education. Retrieved from

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ Beliefs and Educational Research: Cleaning Up a Messy Construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307-332.

Silverstein, M. (1996). Monoglot ‘Standard’ in America: Standardization and Metaphors of Linguistic Hegemony. In R. K. S. Macaulay & D. Brenneis. The Matrix of Language: Contemporary Linguistic Anthropology. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.


Mari J. Wikhaug Andersen is a Doctoral Research Fellow at MultiLing – Center for Multilingualism in Society Across the Lifespan. She has completed the teacher training program at the University of Oslo, and holds an MA in Scandinavian Studies. Before starting her PhD, she taught Norwegian and English in upper secondary school and worked as a Research Assistant at MultiLing. Her research focuses on multilingualism in the classroom and language ideologies.



David Albert Natvig and Seyed Hadi Mirvahedi
Published Mar. 8, 2021 12:08 PM - Last modified June 2, 2022 1:42 PM