Language policy and Sámi education in Sweden ideological and implementational spaces for Sámi language use
Sammanfattning: In Sámi schools in Sweden, the use of the Sámi languages and Swedish as languages of instruction is regulated by government and education policy; legislation allows Sámi and Swedish to be used for teaching and learning. However, agency and personal beliefs about Sámi languages play important roles in language use. Indeed, ideological and implementational spaces can be opened or closed, and support or hinder the use of Sámi languages.This thesis explores language use in Sámi schools through a multidimensional qualitative lens of questionnaires, educational policy documents, interviews, and participatory observations. In this way, the multilingual practices of Sámi schools are analyzed and the factors contributing to the creation, opening, and closing of ideological and implementational spaces for Sámi language use are identified.At the policy level, access to knowledge in and about Sámi and to support functional bilingualism opens spaces for Sámi language use. Whereas the unbalanced access to Sámi and Swedish knowledge, fewer Sámi teaching hours, and no national tests in Sámi close spaces for Sámi language use. At the grassroots level, teachers identified the combination of place and play as a facilitator for Sámi language use with the potential to open spaces for language use that support pupils’ willingness to use Sámi. For pupils, positive attitudes towards Sámi are connected with open spaces for Sámi language use. In contrast, negative attitudes towards Sámi are connected with few opportunities to use Sámi, resulting in closed spaces for Sámi language use.The findings of this thesis make it apparent that collaborative engagement and dialogue between researchers, policymakers and those who are affected by language policies (i.e., teachers and pupils) is necessary to create a productive space for policy and grassroots change that opens spaces for Sámi language use in ways that are beneficial for all.
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