Multilingualism in the Finnish preparatory classroom – does it exist?

  • Tatsiana Shestunova University of Helsinki
Avainsanat: second language, first language support, preparatory education


The study was conducted with the aim of exploring Finnish preparatory teachers’ attitudes to multilingualism and students’ native languages and to examine teachers’ rules related to the usage of languages in the classroom. The sample consisted of six teachers employed in state schools in the capital area and in Central Finland. Semi-structured interviews were used as the basic instrument. The data revealed that teachers understand the importance of first language development, and also have a positive attitude towards multilingualism in the classroom on a theoretical level. However, when it comes to practice, teachers place significant limitations on first language use in the classrooms and need more knowledge on how to move from monolingual to multilingual practices. These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to pre- and in-service teacher preparation.