"That is a big shift for us": Teachers' and teacher educators' perceptions of multilingualism and multilingual operationalizations
This article explores how teachers and teacher educators perceive multilingualism in general, and how they comprehend four specific multilingual operationalizations in particular. It also examines how the participants perceive multilingualism in relation to their language subject(s) in the new national curriculum (LK20) in Norway. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with four teachers and four teacher educators, and the analysis yielded three main themes. First, the participants regarded multilingualism as an important resource for both minority and majority language students in language acquisition and language use. Second, they reported a big shift in how they perceived multilingualism; from a narrow focus on language skills and fluency, to a wider emphasis on knowledge of languages, dialects and language learning. Third, despite this shift, the participants declared that they had insufficient knowledge of how to operationalize multilingualism systematically in their language classrooms. The implementation of the new curriculum (LK20) was viewed to be a good opportunity for developing more knowledge of multilingualism and multilingual operationalizations, but potential challenges to this were identified as the monolingual traditions underpinning the school structures and assessment cultures.
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