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Multilingual young people as writers in and outside of school

The project is a linguistic ethnography of a reception class for newly arrived students in upper secondary school, with an emphasis on translingual young people as writers in and outside of school.

Illustration: Colourbox

Aim

The overarching aim was to produce new knowledge on recently arrived pupils as writers in and outside of school. Writing is understood as a set of translingual practices where the prefix trans- moves us away from an understanding of language as a bounded and stable system, while practices stresses the individual’s usage of language situated in a social, political and historical context. In other words, this understanding of literacy emphasises the translingual young person’s agency in relation to contemporary discourses in different writing spaces.

Design

The project was designed as a linguistic ethnography over the course of a school year (September until June). Data collection involved linguistic ethnographic methods, such as participant observation, interviews, audio-recordings, and the collection of texts written by the pupils in and outside of school. The analyses searched for sedimented patterns and combined linguistic ethnography with critical discourse analysis. 

Funding

The project was a three-year postdoctoral study (2015–2018) financed by the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Oslo.

Results

  • The study of young people’s outside-of-school writing, previous writing experiences and inspiration sources provided analytical possibilities for understanding their school writing.
  • Dominant discourses at school acknowledged monolingual and independent text products. This was in contrast to young people’s more dynamic spare-time writing practices in terms of both language choice and authorship.  
Published Apr. 25, 2016 2:55 PM - Last modified Aug. 23, 2018 7:20 PM