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Language Across the Curriculum: Building a Learning Community

Liselott Forsman
Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa, Finland

Abstract—This paper reports on an ongoing action research project with the aim of exploring the development of a learning community around Language Across the Curriculum (LAC) in a context where the school language (Swedish) is surrounded and much influenced by the national majority language (Finnish). One year into the project, two sets of follow-up interviews have been conducted with five of the teachers and undergone an inductive qualitative content analysis to explore the process. The findings suggest that the increased mastering of didactics for LAC added to a shared awareness of the situation form a fruitful footing for taking necessary action in more concrete terms. For this process, the support of school leadership is seen as crucial. Also, the didactic competence building has provided the teachers with more shared professionally oriented language as activities are planned and discussed. The main challenge is for teachers to find the time to work together. The learning process for individual teachers shows much variation; however, the group activities and other collegial efforts asked for and supported by the school leadership form a necessary gear to drive the larger process on. Overall conclusions thus far into the project are that collaborative action research principles can work as a structure and drive for a continuous learning process around LAC. In the continuing process during this project, however, specific aspects need further focus and facilitation. This particularly concerns enough opportunities for reflective evaluation and further planning of LAC activities in connection to shadowing activities to further improve educational practices.
Index Terms—learning community, language across the curriculum, action research, continuous professional development

Cite: Liselott Forsman, "Language Across the Curriculum: Building a Learning Community," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 239-245, September 2019. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.5.3.239-245