Children in classroom

Project: Multilingual students' meaning making in the school subjects biology and physics

Project information

Project members: Kristina Danielsson Linnaues University, Monica Axelsson, Britt Jakobson, Jenny Uddling, Stockolm University
Funding organisation: The Swedish Research Council
Time frame: 2014-2017

More about the project

The project is led by professor Monica Axelsson, Stockholm University (during 2016 she is also a guest professor at Linnaeus University). Kristina Danielsson has the main responsibility for multimodal analyses of classroom practices.

The overall purpose of the project is to attain a deeper understanding of how science content in biology and physics in primary and lower secondary multilingual classrooms is mediated through different resources in various modes, such as verbal language, action and visualization. The more specific aim of the project is to study classroom interaction, including teachers and students, focusing on how science content is elaborated and negotiated through various semiotic and multimodal resources and how student meaning-making is made visible. We will examine how teachers in multilingual classrooms present biology and physics content in accordance to each subject´s language characteristics and how multilingual students´ meaning-making is scaffolded.

The methodological approach is qualitative with video- and audio recordings, digital pictures of multilingual students´ work, teachers´ writings and pedagogic texts collected in whole units taught in biology and physics. In analysing classroom interaction and meaning-making we use a Practical Epistemology Analysis, PEA, Systemic Functional Linguistics, SFL and software developed at Multimodality Analysis Lab for multimodal analyses. National research in this field has mainly focused on monolingual students´ science learning. This study will contribute to an understanding of the learning conditions for multilingual students who simultaneously have to acquire Swedish as a second language, scientific language and content.