Hand writing

Doctoral project: Multilingual upper secondary students’ writing in Swedish in school

In the research project I explore the features of multilingual upper secondary students’ meaning making practices when writing in Swedish, and identify linguistic resources that favour students’ opportunities of writing texts in Swedish, as well as describing when, how often and in what way students use these resources.

Project information

Doctoral student
Johanna Rylner Kjellgren
Ewa Bergh Nestlog
Assistant supervisor
Päivi Juvonen, Charlotte Hommerberg
August 2020 – June 2025

More about the project

The aim of this research project is to further the knowledge of multilingual students’ writing in Sweden. According to the curriculum of the Swedish school, individual differences, knowledge and experience need to be considered in the teaching. For multilingual students this means seeing students’ multilingualism as a resource in school, which is not only significant for students’ language development and knowledge development, but also for students’ identity development.

However, research shows that Swedish schools do not consider multilingualism a resource, by still treating monolingualism as the norm. There are still few studies on how multilingual students use their multilingualism while writing in their second language in a Swedish school context, and prior international studies point to individual differences.

The project begins with a questionnaire that will be answered by some 50 upper secondary students in a Swedish municipality taking the course Swedish as a second language 1, in order to give an overall picture of how multilingual students express their views on their linguistic resources. The questionnaire helps with purposive sampling for a subsequent case study. In the case study, six to eight upper secondary students’ writing is observed by digital tools, such as a key stroke logging program (InputLog) and videorecording. The students’ texts are texts written in the ordinary teaching of the courses Swedish as a second language 2 and 3. The texts are analysed, and the students are interviewed about their writing and their texts. Observation, collection of texts and interviews take place on three different occasions, six months apart.

The project draws on theories regarding language use as taking place in a social and cultural context, and the context’s impact on students’ possibilities of developing language and identity. Therefore, students’ own attitudes towards language use are also central to the study.

The project may entail knowledge that can be used in order to make students’ linguistic knowledge and experience a resource in their writing in school, not only for themselves as individuals, but also for teaching practices.

The research project is approved by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority.

The project is part of the research in:
The Educational Linguistics research group
Linnaeus Knowledge Environment: Education in change