Conceptualisations of multilingualism in early childhood teacher education: Ideological and implementational spaces in policy texts




early childhood teacher education, language ideologies, curriculum, knowledge base


This paper explores how multilingualism is conceptualised in teacher education policy texts and discuss the ideological and implementational spaces for multilingual pedagogy in teacher education. The main focus is Norwegian early childhood teacher education curricula, and the qualitative oriented content analysis of teacher education curricula documents follows three steps. The first step provides an overview of how the content in Norwegian early childhood teacher education is regulated compared to Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The second step takes a historical perspective, examining how the conceptualisations of multilingualism in Norwegian ECTE have changed from 1971–2018. The third step involves a close reading of local course plans from 12 different Norwegian higher education institutions. Findings show how curriculum content in Norwegian early childhood teacher education related to multilingualism is far more regulated than in the other Nordic countries. The historical analysis reveals how the ideological and implementational spaces have changed over the years by defining multilingualism differently, and how the current national guidelines open the ideological and implementation spaces for multilingualism. Furthermore, the analysis of the 12 local teacher education programs illustrates how these open spaces are implemented in different ways, either in narrowing further the spaces or broadening the spaces. The discussion revolves around how these spaces require different kinds of competencies for both practitioners and teacher educators.


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