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Work-integrated learning in Swedish as a second language: a study of vocational directed SFI
Högskolan Väst, Institutionen för individ och samhälle, Avd för utbildningsvetenskap och språk. Biblioteket, Högskolan Väst. (LINA)ORCID-id: 0000-0001-6996-7277
2022 (Engelska)Ingår i: International Conference on Work Integrated Learning: Abstract Book, Trollhättan: University West , 2022, s. 14-16Konferensbidrag, Muntlig presentation med publicerat abstract (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

Research topic

Adult migrants, coming to Sweden, can attend Swedish courses known as Swedish for immigrants (SFI), in order to learn the language. SFI is a qualified, basic language education (SOU 2020:66). Moreover, there is a possibility to combine the language studies with vocational training. Language learning takes place via language usage, and exposure to the language increases the fluency, as demonstrated by Chiswick and Miller (1995). Thus, when theadult migrant interacts in Swedish, at work or in society, informal language learning takes place. However, little is known about how this informal language learning comes about (Yates, 2017).

Motivation

Integrated language programs are arranged by municipalities in the belief that they will expedite language learning and contribute to labour market establishment (Lindberg & Sandwall, 2012). The idea of the programs is that it enhances the possibilities for newly arrived migrants to learn a vocation as well as learning appropriate professional communication in Swedish (Dahlström, 2019). In addition to this, further aims with the programs are reducing unemployment and securing competence in professions that are difficult to recruit to, as well as expediting migrants’ entrance into the labour market (ibid.). However, these effects are not fully investigated (ibid.), and “[n]oteworthy is […] the lack of studies of vocational directed sfi” (SOU 2020:66, p. 460; my translation).Even though many migrants learn the language at the workplace, “we currently know very little about how this ‘informal’ language learning unfolds” (Yates, 2017, p. 429). One way to investigate this is through using boundary crossing theory, as used by Akkerman and Bakker (2012) in vocational education. Akkerman and Bakker (2012) outlined student transitions between school and workplace practice. The ambition with this project is to find out what boundary crossing mechanisms are in use in vocationally directed SFI-programs.

Research questions/aim

So far, there are no studies that have investigated vocationally directed SFI, even though these programs are offered by an estimated 61-86 percent of Swedish municipalities (Skolverket, 2022). In addition to this, there is a strong societal discourse which holds that the Swedish language is the key to integration and employment (Lindberg & Sandwall, 2017). The current research attempts to fill this gap by investigating the integration between components, aiming at facilitating learning, in vocational directed SFI. The purpose of this study is to investigate vocational directed SFI-programs and how the integration of components in these programs can contribute to the learning for the students attending them.

The research questions are 

1. What processes are involved when vocational directed SFI-programs are initiated? How do they come about?

2. What affordances for learning at the boundary exist in the studied programs?

3. What learning at the boundary exist, and how is it established?

4. What role does boundary objects play at mediating learning at the boundary?

The context where the research is carried out is in Sweden, at vocational directed SFI-programs. This will be a compilation dissertation that will consist of four case studies. A combination of qualitative methods will be used. Specifically, these are interviews and document analysis (Study I), interviews (Study II), and ethnographic approaches (Study III and IV). 

The first study is a retrospective case study of three vocational directed SFI-programs, investigating the background of starting up such a program. The purpose of the first study is to find out what processes contributed to the start-up of this type of program and to learn more about why the municipalities started offering the p rogram and how they went about when starting it up. The aim of this study is to answer RQ1.15

The second study is an interview case study with 13 participants, both sfi-teachers, vocational teachers and practice supervisors, in five vocational directed SFI-programs from two municipalities. The purpose of the second study is to map out the programs and the boundary crossings of the investigated programs. This study is published (see Febring & Henry, 2022). This study responds to RQ2.The third study is planned to be an ethnographic case study of one vocational directed SFI-program. The researcher will spend a lot of time on site to see the collaboration between the teachers, and also to follow the students at their practice. The purpose of the third study is to investigate how learning at the boundary is established. The focus of this study is to answer RQ3.The fourth study is also planned to be an ethnographic case study of one vocational directed SFI -program. The purpose of the fourth study is to investigate how learning at the boundary is mediated by the use of boundary objects (artefacts mediating at the border) (Engeström et al., 1995). This study relates to RQ4. 

Theoretical and methodological perspectives 

The dissertation is underpinned by socio-cultural theories on learning. For study II, III and IV, boundary crossing theory (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011) is used. According to Suchman (1993) “crossing boundaries means entering into a process of profound and uncomfortable social change” (p. 25). However, Akkerman and Bakker (2011) states that crossing boundaries has a potential for learning, which is emphasized by both cultural historical activity theory (Engeström, 1987) and communities of practice (Wenger, 1998).

Results and implications 

The research will contribute to the WIL paradigm by considering the use of the concept in relation to Swedish as a Second Language (SSL). A first attempt at defining work integrated language learning (WILL) has been proposed, which reads as follows: “a program or other form of education that primarily targets the development of L2 skills, where classroom and workplace-based learning are intentionally combined, and where connections between settings are actively sought” (Febring & Henry, 2022, p. 19-20). To understand the ways in which formal and informal knowledge and experiences are made relevant in language learning is of importance for teacher training programmes, teachers and teacher educators. Moreover, this study will be important for research about language learning, Swedish as a Second Language (SLL) and teacher training, as well as to SSL-students, sfi- and SSL-teachers, teachers of migrants, vocational supervisors, teacher-educators, but also for policy makers, all of whom can make more informed decisions about classro om practice.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Trollhättan: University West , 2022. s. 14-16
Nyckelord [en]
Work-integrated Learning, Swedish as a Second Language, Vocational training, Migration, Boundary Crossing, Vocational Directed SFI
Nationell ämneskategori
Lärande Språk och litteratur
Forskningsämne
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Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-19492ISBN: 9789189325302 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-19492DiVA, id: diva2:1720822
Konferens
WIL'22 International Conference on Work Integrated Learning, 7-9 December 2022, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden
Anmärkning

The general theme of the conference is: “WIL in the service of society”

Tillgänglig från: 2022-12-20 Skapad: 2022-12-20 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-01-31Bibliografiskt granskad

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