Teaching English to newly arrived students in Swedish lower secondary school : - A study of challenges and possibilities
Abstract: Sweden has in recent years seen a great increase of immigrants, which has led to more schools than ever having newly arrived students. In lower secondary schools, newly arrived students, who may not have studied English before, study English together with native-born Swedes who have studied English for some years already. This great mix of English proficiency levels makes it difficult for English teachers to adapt their teaching to every student’s needs, even though the Swedish curriculum for compulsory school states that “teaching should be adapted to each pupil’s circumstances and needs” (Skolverket, 2011a, p. 10). In this degree project essay, I present what the National Agency for Education has published about teaching English to newly arrived students in lower secondary school, and I also answer the research question: How can English teachers create a good environment for learning English for newly arrived students in lower secondary school? The findings from three interviews with lower secondary school teachers are that the situation is challenging, and their best advice is to let the newly arrived students study English at their individual level through the help of computers and digital resources. The essay concludes with encouraging English teachers to have realistic ambitions regarding newly arrived students. Teachers must be able to accept that not all students will achieve a grade in English in year 9, but through the Language Introduction Programme, newly arrived students still have a genuine chance of fully completing their compulsory school education.
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