Eija Aalto, Mirja Tarnanen
August 19, 2017
In multilingual learning settings, in order to provide optimal learning conditions for all learners and support both disciplinary and language knowledge development, subject teachers need knowledge on and understanding of how language is used to construct meanings in their discipline and how to scaffold learning from the premise of learners’ current skills. In this article, we report a descriptive case study of two teaching interventions carried out in pre-service subject teacher practice. Student teachers of science and ethics collaborated with student teachers of Finnish language and literature to plan and implement thematic units that focused on particular disciplinary phenomena and the language and project skills needed in exploring those phenomena in a multilingual and multicultural teaching setting. Audio-recorded planning sessions and interviews of teacher students were analysed using thematic analysis and discourse analysis to identify emerging discourses reflecting their pedagogical language knowledge. The student teachers seemed to approach language mainly as bounded sets of linguistic resources, and various means for meaning-making were used to a large extent separately without strategic consideration. Spoken language in particular was unconscious, unanalysed, and considered a self-explanatory means for meaning-making.