Vastaantulo – Meeting in the middle: Multilingual students in preparatory education
Meeting in the Middle: Multilingual students in preparatory education is a research and development project being conducted by the Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. The project has 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 aims to find answers about supporting
- emerging second language
- multilingual concept formation processes
- late readers.
The development project has close contacts with teachers in the field and several focus groups who will be undertaking ethnographic observations and making video recordings in classrooms. A group of experienced preparatory class teachers will be interviewed regularly, to keep the researchers aware of the changing realities of the recently arrived students’ education in the field. The project will proceed in three cycles: 1) Ideas for better practices will be selected in conjunction with the teachers, and the ideas for better practices and potential new tools will be implemented and observed in the focus classrooms. 2) The results of observations will be brought to joint workshops to be held in the Department of Educational Sciences, at which participating researchers, teachers and teacher training students will comment on and develop the new tools further. 3) Tools for better practices will be shared digitally, following the open access policy.
The project will continue 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 is to implement research-based practices for learning and teaching. The teachers in the field will be informed about the ongoing research concerning the learning and teaching of recently arrived students, while the researchers will become acquainted with practitioners’ views. The project will increase the corpus of research about multilingual learning in Finnish schools.