Wednesday, February 17, 2016

EUC Dimensions of New and Heritage Language Education in Multicultural Sweden with Dr. Liv Thorstensson Dávila

On February 5th, as a part of the EUC Faculty Lecture Series, Dr. Liv Thorstensson Dávila discussed and drew on qualitative research conducted at a linguistically and culturally diverse elementary school in Sweden, highlighting the complexities of new and heritage language teaching and learning within the school, community, and regional context. This article was written by Paula Jaime Agramon, a graduate assistant at the European Union Center.  

Professor Liv Dávila from the Department of Curriculum and & Instruction from the College of Education performed research on the dimensions of new and heritage language education in multicultural Sweden. She has spent time in Sweden living in highly populated immigrant communities and performing research in schools in these communities, and her findings are quite interesting.

Knowing that Sweden has a high rate of immigration and that with the current refugee crisis, a quantifiable amount of them are seeking refugee status in Sweden, it is interesting to study how well the youth is integrating into Swedish society. Professor Dávila  studied how the vast majority of these kids go to schools were they attend ‘special’ classes where they learn Swedish as a second language.

They also learn “Heritage languages” which in most cases are the languages their family members speak. They learn those languages because according to “The Language Swedish Act” it is their right to learn their mother tongue so they can communicate with their families in that language as well as with family members and friends back in their families’ home countries.

Even though the current situation for these youth immigrants is not the brightest, Professor Dávila  is positive in that as time goes on and these refugees adapt to their new country, Swedish people will be more welcoming and refugees will better integrate themselves into the Swedish culture and lifestyle.

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