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Multilingualism in foreign language learning: students' and teachers' perspectives in the Norwegian context

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Within a multilingual pedagogical approach, learners are encouraged to reflect on previous language learning experiences and how this can assist them in further language learning. For example, pupils in Norwegian secondary school should reflect on which linguistic knowledge and strategies from L1 Norwegian, L2 English, and from other acquired languages can be useful when learning their third language. In my presentation, I will first briefly present findings from two recently published studies. Haukås (2015) examined L2 English and L3 German learners’ reported strategy use, whereas Haukås (2016) investigated L3 teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism and a multilingual pedagogical approach. One interesting finding from the latter study was the teachers’ claim that there are hardly any possibilities of transferring strategies from L2 English to the L3, because L2 English and the L3 are learned in completely different ways. Prompted by these studies and inspired by Kalaja et al.’s (2008) explorations of visual learner narratives, a new study was developed to investigate which activities are represented in Norwegian pupils’ drawings of themselves learning L2 English and L3 French/German/Spanish. Altogether 321 Norwegian secondary school pupils (year 9) participated in the project. Findings from this study may provide important insight into learners’ strategies for learning foreign languages (L2 and L3) and to what extent they perceive the learning of L2 English and learning an L3 as belonging to two different worlds.

Åsta Haukås is a professor of applied linguistics and foreign language pedagogy at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her research includes investigations into learners’ and teachers’ multilingualism, metacognition in language learning and teaching, and language learning from a cognitive linguistic perspective. Previously she worked as a language teacher of Norwegian, English, and German in secondary schools.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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