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2nd LEARNMe Workshop: Stockholm (8-9 May 2014)

On Thursday 8 and Friday 9 May 2014, the second workshop of the LEARNMe project took place in Stockholm, Sweden. The theme of the workshop was ‘revisiting, reanalysing and redefining research on linguistic diversity: education, policy and media’.

Several experts from all over Europa and even from Canada and South-Africa, gave a presentation. The second workshop addressed implementation and practices, drawing on the voices of practitioners in the field of education.

Workshop 2 was arranged in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland and the National minority section of the Swedish Church in Uppsala.

Among the experts was professor Jim Cummins (Toronto, Canada) on educational policies and linguistic diversity. Professor Jim Cummins argued that, contrary to several hegemonic narratives, home use of a language other than school language is not a cause of underachievement. No relationship has been found between those two facts in Australia and Canada by research, he said. According to Professor Cummins, two major facts that have been neglected in policies explain academic underachievement: literacy engagement (amount and range of reading and writing, use of effective strategies for deep understanding of text, positive affect and identity investment in reading and writing) and identity affirmation. “In order to enable all students to succeed academically, they are crucial”, he argued.

Other experts who gave a presentation were professor Constant Leung (London, UK), who underlined that currently all pupils, irrespective of their language background, participate in mainstream English-medium classes, following the national curriculum, since there is no funding for English as an additional second language. Jeroen Darquennes (Namur, Belgium) explored in his presentation “And what about the practical side of LPP” history, practices and alternative approaches to the concept of language policy and planning (LLP) and Siv Björklund (Vasa, Finland) presented a case study on language immersion in Finland.

Both workshop days concluded in a discussion about the most important statements of that day and about redefining linguistic diversity.

The workshop programme can be downloaded here.


Thursday 8 May - Morning Sessions

Prof. Jim Cummins (University of Toronto): Educational Policies and Linguistic Diversity: Resolving Tensions between Ideological Narratives and Research Evidence (.ppt)

Prof. Constant Leung (King's College London): Navigating mainstream education policy and provision for linguistic diversity (.ppt)

Prof. Siv Björklund (University of Vaasa): Language Immersion in Finland - From Bilingual to Trilingual Education? (.ppt)

Prof. Csilla Bartha (Research Centre for Multilingualism/MTA, Budapest): Superdiversity, monolingual ideologies and multilingual practices of linguistic others. Controversies of Sociolinguistic Research and Policy in Contemporary Hungary (.pdf)

Thursday 8 May -Afternoon Sessions

Prof. Jeroen Darquennes (University of Namur): And what about the practical side of LPP? (.ppt)

Prof. Christopher Stroud & Caroline Kerfoot Ph.D. (Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Stockholm University): Towards Rethinking Multilingualism and Language Policy for Academic Literacies (.ppt)

Prof. Tom Moring (University of Helsinki): Media education, minority language and cultural development (.pdf)

Prof. Kaisa Syrjänen-Schaal: Linguistic Challenges That Turned Out to be Legal Ones (.ppt)

Friday 9 May -Morning Sessions: Policies

Lennart Rohdin (political advisor Swedish government): Act on National Minorities and Minority Languages in Sweden: Challenges of Implementation (.pdf)

Friday 9 May - Afternoon Session: Practitioners

Markku Peura (Sweden Finnish Delegation) and Ina Sinisalo (Headmaster from Botkyrka) on the challenges for the Sweden Finnish national minority and experiences of Swedish school politics concerning bilingual education.

Guillem Pujades (Ciemen/LEARNMe): Aranese education (.ppt)

Prof. emeritus Juha Pentikäinen (Lapland University) discussed the possibilities of bilingual education among the Sami of Finland.

Dr István Csernicskó (Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute, Beregovo/Beregszász) and Anna Huppert (Research Centre for Multilingualism - MTA, Budapest): Recent Trends of Language Policies, Elaboration of the New Language Law in Ukraine (.pdf)


Suvi Kiveläs, Reborn (2012), a short film about the revitalization of the Sami language in Finland (screened during the presentation of Juha Pentikäinen).

A study visit to a bilingual school in Stockholm

On Wednesday 7 May, all partners of the LEARNMe project visited a bilingual school in Stockholm, the Sverigefinska skolan i Stockholm (Sweden-Finnish school of Stockholm). This school provides primary and lower secondary education and is one of the seven Sweden-Finnish schools in Sweden and the only bilingual school in Stockholm.

During the visit, headmaster Heli Lindström explained a lot about the Swedish school system and the position of bilingual education. The school follows the Swedish curriculum. The division of the use of the Swedish and Finnish language should be 50/50, but in reality, the Finnish language is used more in the lower classes and, going up in the education system, Swedish is used more.

The reason for this is that there is no Finnish or bilingual (Swedish-Finnish) upper secondary education in Sweden. Children leaving the Sweden-Finnish school must therefore be able to use the Swedish language at a high level.

Position paper

LEARNMe Position Paper 2 (.pdf) was developed building on the one hand on the experiences made during the first LEARNMe Workshop held in Aberystwyth (17-18 October 2013), and on the other, the second LEARNMe Workshop held in Stockholm, 8-9 May 2014. This Second Position Paper presents the main contents of the presentations, summaries of these posted on Facebook, and discussions that took place over the two-day event in Stockholm.

This Position Paper was written and developed by Jarmo Lainio, assisted by Markus Lyyra, and using the earlier documentations of Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Ania Rolewska and Anna Lou Dijkstra, as well as the Facebook summaries of David Forniès.