London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Langue Skills, Lingual Identity and Active Citizenship

Author(s) Torpsten, A-C.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
This paper focuses on lingual skills, lingual identity, active citizenship and the experiences of second language learners, using a life story approach. The overarching aim is to discuss second language teacher students' encountering with Swedish School, mother tongue tuition and second language and lifelong learning. The goal is achieved by examining an empirical context. A narrative analysis is carried out of life stories given by second language pupils. Trainee teacher students with Swedish as a Second Language told their second language learning memories as aspects of their life stories. They encountered the Swedish school in the 1990s and told their life story memories in 2007. The life stories were collected in the form of letters and in-depth group discussions. I acted as discussion leader. The stories were studied, interpreted, presented and discussed in different stages with the help of a theoretical starting points and an interpretation framework. A narrative analysis was carried out in a spiral of understanding by means of deconstruction and reconstruction. The analysis shows that those teacher students' received tuition in their mother tongues when they encountered Swedish School. Mother tongue in school was positive for their continued and life long learning and linguistic development. Good skills in the mother tongue were transferred to the second language and it became much easier to continue developing a second language when skills in their mother tongue improved. The teacher students' mother tongue was very important for the development of bilingualism in terms of multilingualism. Through their lifelong linguistic learning and development it becomes possible to develop an identity as multilingual persons. Good skills in the mother tongue and the second language are conditions for active citizenship in a multicultural society. When the skills in mother tongue increased, the trainee teacher students became aware of the fact that they could switch between their languages. They became aware of their identities as multi lingual citizens and their possibilities of being active multicultural citizens.

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