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Translanguaging in the majority classroom: a study of teachers’ beliefs, practices and students’ linguistic citizenship

In this PhD project, I investigate teachers’ beliefs and multilingual and translanguaging practices in vocational program subject classrooms in Norwegian upper secondary school.

Photo of Mari J. W. Andersen. Woman with dark hair to her shoulders, wearing a blue and yellow dress and a black cardigan, eyes looking directly at the camera.

Mari J. Wikhaug Andersen (photo: Nadia Frantsen/UiO)

About the project

Viewing multilingualism as a resource to the individual and to society, and as valuable in itself, has been explicitly stated in several Norwegian terms of reference during the last 15 years (e.g. NOU 2010:7; Ministry of Education, 2007). In the fall of 2020, new core curriculum is implemented on all levels in the school system, and in it, it reads that “(…) All pupils shall experience that being proficient in a number of languages is a resource, both in school and society at large.” (Ministry of Education and Research, 2017:7). My study investigates the beliefs about and the presence and use of multilingualism as resource in the vocational classroom during the first year of the new core curriculum.

There are three main focal points in this study. The first is the observable classroom practices related to multilingualism more generally and translanguaging in particular. The second is the teachers’ perspective: their knowledge and beliefs about multilingualism and multilingual practices in the classroom. The third angle is the students’ experience of being multilingual minority learners in a majority context.

Data collection and research questions

I aim to collect data which can inform me about each of the aspects described above using an ethnographically-inspired classroom research methodology, which includes observation of classrooms and teachers’ meetings, interviews with teachers and students, and field notes. The research questions revolve around how the expressed beliefs of the teachers compare to the classroom practices, the classroom practices in themselves, and the experiences of each of the parties in the classroom setting – the teachers and the students. The participants in the study are teachers of program subjects in vocational study programs and their multilingual minority students with short time of residency in Norway.

Theoretical framework

The format of the study allows for an exploration of interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives, using theories rooted in separate, yet partly overlapping traditions. These fields include the parts of social psychology related to beliefs, knowledge and attitudes (e.g. Garrett, 2010; Pajares, 1992), translanguaging pedagogy (García & Li Wei, 2014), multicultural pedagogy (as described in Van der Kooij, 2014), and linguistic citizenship (Stroud, 2001; Williams & Stroud, 2015). Concepts of integration and assimilation (e.g. Spernes, 2012) and theories of social and cultural capital (e.g. Bourdieu, 1985) are also relevant to the study.


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

García, O. & Li Wei. (2014). Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education. London: Palgrave MacMillan

Garrett, P. (2010). Attitudes to Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ministry of Education and Research. (2007). Likeverdig opplæring i praksis! Strategi for bedre læring og større deltakelse av språklige minoriteter i barnehage, skole og utdanning 2007–2009. Revidert utgave februar 2007. Retrieved from

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

NOU 2010: 7. Mangfold og mestring — Flerspråklige barn, unge og voksne i opplæringssystemet. Oslo: Ministry of Education.

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

Spernes, K. (2012). Den flerkulturelle skolen i bevegelse. Teoretiske og praktiske perspektiver. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk Forlag.

Stroud, C. (2001). African Mother-tongue Programmes and the Politics of Language: Linguistic Citizenship Versus Linguistic Human Rights. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 22(4), 339-355.

Van der Kooij, K. S. (2014). Flerkulturell pedagogikk. In J. H. Stray & L. Wittek (Eds.). Pedagogikk – en grunnbok. Oslo: Cappelen Damm.

Williams, Q & C. Stroud. (2015). Linguistic citizenship: Language and politics in postnational modernities. Journal of Language and Politics, 14(3), 406 -430.



Tags: Multilingual ideologies and language policies
Published Aug. 6, 2020 2:41 PM - Last modified Feb. 11, 2021 1:29 PM