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In English

Vastaantulo – Meeting in the middle: Multilingual students in preparatory education

The project has ended 9/2019.

Meeting in the Middle: Multilingual students in preparatory education was a research and development project being conducted by the Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. The project received funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture from 2017 to 2019, to enhance research about newcomers’ integration into Finnish comprehensive school and upper secondary school.

Meeting in the Middle aimed to find answers about supporting
- emerging second language
- multilingual concept formation processes
- late readers.

The development project had close contacts with teachers in the field and several focus groups. The project collected research data from classrooms by making ethnographic observations and video recordings in 6 preparatory education classrooms. A group of experienced preparatory class teachers was be interviewed, to keep the researchers aware of the changing realities of the recently arrived students’ education in the field.

The project proceeded in three cycles: 1) Ideas for better practices were selected in conjunction with the teachers, and the ideas for better practices and potential new tools were implemented and observed in the focus classrooms. 2) The results of observations were brought to joint workshops held in the Department of Educational Sciences, at which participating researchers, teachers and teacher training students commented on and developed the new tools further. 3) Tools for better practices are shared digitally, following the open access policy.

The project continued along the research lines started by the Long Second learner corpus project (see http://blogs.helsinki.fi/kielen-ja-kirjallisuuden-didaktiikan-tutkimus/in-english/long-second/). The research questions of Meeting in the Middle are presented here.

One outcome of the project was to implement research-based practices for learning and teaching. The teachers in the field were informed about the ongoing research concerning the learning and teaching of recently arrived students, while the researchers became acquainted with practitioners’ views. The project increased the corpus of research about multilingual learning in Finnish schools.

The bilingual final conference Newly ar­rived stu­dents and language aware­ness in teach­ing and learn­ing was held on 22–23 August 2019 at the Faculty of Education, University of Helsinki. More information on the conference website.