07 SES 07 B, Multilingualism and Plurilingual Research
European countries, and not least Sweden, has received an unpreceded increase of refugee-immigration over the last four years, peaking in 2015 with 160.000 refugees seeking asylum in Sweden. Due to the EU's extremely restrictive policies and aggressive surveiilance of its borders, together with a radical turn in Swedish refugee-policies in 2016, the number has now decreased dramatically. Still, may people are waiting for decisions about residence visa, and live in asylum accomodations. The waiting time varies between persons with deifferent nationalities and grounds for seeking asylum, but it is not unusual to wait for two years. The waiting time can be extremely stressful due to traumatic experiences, separation from and deep concern for loved ones and loss of identity as a consequence of being displaced. The waiting time in the asylum accomodation is also a stressor as such, since there is often a lack of meaningful activities and social contacts with with people the surrounding community. Not being able to work or pursue interrupted studies and to start buildning a new life in the new context, is frustrating for many, and especially stressfull for those who wait for familiy reunificatiion for which, since new migration-laws started to apply in 2016, work is a prerequisite.
This study is located in the largest asylum accomodation in Sweden, which currently accomodates 1.200 people, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Somalia. The accomodation consist of about 20 big buildnings with rooms and shared facilities. Like most accomodations, it is owned by a private enterprise from which the Migration Board buys places. By initiative from the owners of the enterprise, and in dialogue with an organization that refugees have started to facilitate self-empowerment and networking, an intensive programme for Swedish L2 language training has been worked out. It is offered to the residents in courses of appoximately 4 weeks, and lead by volunteer teachers who have been specifically trained. The programme is inspired by the method Suggestopedia, and aims at developing oral skills and for participants to communicate in Swedish in every-day situations. Nine groups have started, one of them full scale Suggestipedia. Currently 130 persons are taking the course, and the equivalent number havde signed up for the next circle. Many of the asylum-seekers express a hope and expectation that the course will help them focus on something psoitive and relieve stress, and that it will enhance their L2 competency effectively and thus be an important tool for enabling them to get work and form friendships and relations with Swedish people. This purpose of the current study is to investigate what the course means for the refugees from a broad perspective.
The aim of the study is to explore the following questions:
- What, in the views of the learners, happens with their skills, motivation and agency in regard to the new language during the course? Does the course help them cope with stress, depression and anxiety, and how?
- What learning situations and activities are significant for learning, motivation and positive emotions?
- What is the impact of the learners’ sense of the classroom climate, and of their relationships with other learners and with the teachers?
- How does taking the course impact the extent to which the learners’ are able and prone to imagine a good life as a resident in Sweden?
- Does the interaction with Swedish people increase in connection with the course?
The analysis will be informed by theories about L2 learning, motivation and identity in regard to linguistic, cultural, individual, educational and sociological aspects.
Dörnyei (2010). Researching motivation: From integrativeness to the ideal L2 self. In S. Hunston & D. Oakey (Eds.), Introducing applied linguistics: Concepts and skills (pp. 74-83). London: Routledge. Gardner, R.C. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: the role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold. Gass, S.M. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Kanno, Y., & Norton, B. (Guest Eds.). (2003). Imagined communities and educational possibilities [Special issue]. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 2(4). Sandwall, K. (2013). Att hantera praktiken [Elektronisk resurs] : om sfi-studerandes möjligheter till interaktion och lärande på praktikplatser. Diss. Göteborg : Göteborgs universitet, 2013. Göteborg. Spada, N.M. (1885) Effects of the Informal Contact on Learners L2 Proficiency: A Review of Five Studies. In TESL Canada Journal, [S.l.], p. 51-62, june 1985.
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