Språkstudier som utbildningsstrategi hos grundskoleelever och deras familjer

Sammanfattning: This investigation has sought to understand and explain the investments made by compulsory school pupils and their families’ stances towards the study of modern foreign languages (English not included). Which pupils (with regard to gender, social and national background and grade point average) chose to invest in the study of modern foreign languages? What strategies pertaining to the study of modern foreign languages did families from different backgrounds develop and how can these differences be understood?The conceptual tools, capital and strategy, developed by Pierre Bourdieu were used. The analysis utilizes national register data as well as questionnaires and family interviews conducted in Uppsala and Southern Dalarna.Analysis of register data identifies language study as a socially differentiated practice, especially with regard to which pupils attained a final grade. Most pupils began studying a modern foreign language.  Predominantly children from upper middle class families, particularly daughters, persisted and achieved the highest grades. Lower middle class and working class children had higher deselection rates and lower grades – especially sons. The gap between daughters and sons was most prevalent within the working class, and less so for the well-educated upper middle class. Resource-rich families resembled one another across the two regions, barring grade point average, which was higher among Uppsala pupils.The geometric data analysis generated a space of resource-rich families’ stances on modern foreign languages and language teaching. In Uppsala, well-educated families and families with plenty of transnational capital held positive views towards modern foreign languages and language teaching’s cultural and formalistic aspects, yet they held negative views towards grades and grading. The opposite was true for families with lesser amounts of educational capital.In Southern Dalarna, well-educated families valued modern foreign languages as useful whilst families with lesser educational capital emphasised English as the most important language. The more the families had invested in education, the more positive they were towards cultural and formalistic aspects of language teaching. Grades did not hold the same value for Southern Dalarna families.Language study is both a national and a transnational investment that reinforces other types of capital: cultural, educational and transnational.