31 SES 12 A, Professional Development for Teachers in Multilingual Classrooms: International Perspectives
In Finland, the changes on the curriculum level concerning linguistically responsive education (Lucas & Villegas, 2013) have been remarkable. The term language awareness was included in the National Core Curriculum for basic education in 2014 (National Agency for Education, 2014) concerning all teachers, not only teachers working with languages. Furthermore, linguistically responsive education should be seen as a fundamental right that concerns all learners, not only multilingual learners (MLLs). On the national level, short-term funding has been targeted for several in-service professional learning projects for meeting the needs of MLLs. However, project-based in-service development is not accessible to all teachers in Finland. Furthermore, sustainable professional development (PD) would require coherently organised, research-based in-service courses (Kyckling et al., 2019).In this study, the aim was to investigate perceptions of in-service professional learning concerning linguistically responsive education and language awareness. The data were collected among teachers and school leaders (n = 7) with interviews, and within a group that consisted of administrative level coordinators, specialised in MLLs, with open-ended question paper forms (n = 15). On the one hand, we were interested in finding out what are the needs for PD. On the other hand, our aim was to find out how the professional development that the informants had participated in had affected their perceptions and attitudes. The data were analysed with thematic content analysis with a phenomenological approach (Krippendorff, 2013). The results suggest that there is a significant need for more support in PD and ready-made material for linguistically responsive education. Regardless of participating in professional learning, the responses reflected relatively limited perceptions of language awareness. The group of administrative level coordinators, who were more experienced on working with MLLs, had a more holistic understanding on linguistically responsive education being a fundamental right for every learner, not just MLLs. The PD sessions had influenced the participants’ awareness concerning multilingualism and valuing all languages. However, this awareness was not adequately actualised by the teachers at the classroom level due to a lack of concrete pedagogical tools for implementing linguistically responsive ideas. Further, the respondents emphasised the need for time and resources for critical reflection and practicing linguistically responsive education. This corroborates our understanding concerning the need for more coherent and continuous in-service professional learning instead of short-term projects.
Krippendorff, K. (2013). Content analysis: An Introduction to its methodology. Sage. Kyckling, E., Vaarala, H., Ennser-Kananen, J., Saarinen, T. & Suur-Askola, L. (2019). Kielikoulutuksen saavutettavuus eurooppalaisessa perusopetuksessa: pääsyn, mahdollistumisen ja arvon näkökulmia. [The accessibility of language education in European basic education: Views on access, possibilities, and value] Soveltavan kielentutkimuksen keskus. Center for Applied Language Studies. Available in Finnish at: https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/66348 Lucas,T. & Villegas, A. M. (2013). Preparing Linguistically Responsive Teachers: Laying the Foundation in Preservice Teacher Education. Theory into practice 52(2): 98–109. Web. National Core Curriculum for Basic Education. (2014). The National Agency for Education. Available in Finnish at: https://www.oph.fi/fi/koulutus-ja-tutkinnot/perusopetuksen-opetussuunnitelman-perusteet.
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