Louise Backelin, half time seminar: Teachers' beliefs about language varieties in Mother Tongue Tuition: The case of Arabic in Swedish schools

Culture and languages

Louise Backelin, PhD student within the Humanities specialising in Educational Sciences (through CUL graduate school) at the Department of Languages and Literatures, will present texts and results, halfway through her thesis work. All interested are welcome!

24 Jan 2023
13:00 - 15:00
Room J439, Humanisten, Renströmsgatan 6

Good to know
The seminar is held i Swedish

NOTE: the seminar starts at 13:00 sharp
Department of Languages and Literatures


Andreas Hallberg


The CEFR-inspired National syllabus of Mother Tongue tuition in Sweden indicates that spoken varieties have a role when heritage and mother-tongue speakers are taught Arabic in Swedish schools. [1] Simultaneously, it gives teachers a so-called curriculum-free space to decide what and how to teach to reach the aims of the subject. Most Arabic teachers were not born in Sweden and have been schooled and trained in different Arabic-speaking countries. In contrast to the Swedish framework-curriculum system, the teachers have been taught and trained in a prescriptive school and university system focusing on Standard Arabic and its grammar. The present study focuses on the beliefs of Arabic teachers in Sweden about different varieties of Arabic and their role in Arabic Mother tongue tuition in Sweden. The aim is to explore and explain the beliefs and where they might come from, relating the teachers’ beliefs to the Swedish Mother Tongue tuition syllabus.

Using a mixed-methods approach, data were collected in two phases. The first phase consisted of an online questionnaire survey answered by 330+ Arabic teachers from all over Sweden. The second phase consisted of semi-structured interviews with (so far) 10 Arabic teachers from among the respondents to the questionnaire. Preliminary results show a wide range of beliefs regarding the presence of Spoken Arabic in the teaching of Arabic and which, if any, place it has in teaching. Only a handful of teachers refer to the syllabus in the questionnaire and refer their beliefs towards other sources. In the interviews, this is contrasted with some teachers explaining how they align their work to the syllabus, incorporating (different) Spoken Arabic(s).