Bilingual Theories and the Swedish Bilingual Profile Reflected in the Classroom : A Comparative Case-Study in two Swedish Bilingual Schools
Bilingualism and multilingualism are phenomena dominantly present in today’s globalized world. Sweden is not an exception and its international character is apparent in all domains, such as politics, business and education. English is perceived more as a second language rather a foreign one, taking into consideration the numerous bilingual and international schools of the country that promote the acquisition of Swedish and English from an early age. Teaching in bilingual classrooms may cause challenges due to students’ different linguistic abilities and background and thus, teachers are responsible to maintain a balance between both languages. The particular study has a two-fold aim; at first place, it analyzes theories of bilingualism that are directly related to pedagogical and teaching practices as well as the relation between bilingualism and brain functions. The purpose is to identify how these theories are reflected into everyday classrooms through teachers’ methods. The second part of the research is the examination of the contextual background of Sweden in terms of linguistic hierarchy, the aims of society to bilingual education and laws regarding languages and teacher training. The purpose is to outline the extent to which this background is applied into actual contexts. Therefore, the third part is the empirical study that is a comparative case-study through a qualitative approach into two bilingual schools in Sweden. The central focus is on teachers’ opinions about challenges, teaching methods and personal reflections and the identification of differences and similarities. The critical analysis of the three main parts enables the researcher to reach conclusions where certain points and issues are outlined along with possible solutions. The goal of the study is not the generalization of data but a focus on individuals and reflection of real situations that sets the basis for research in larger scales.
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