1 Department of Curriculum Research, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Forskningsprogram for Fagdidaktik, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University3 Danish School of Education - Didaktikuddannelserne, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University4 Danish School of Education - Didaktikuddannelserne, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
In the context of an increasing multilingualism, literacy teaching has become a central and contested issue in public and political debate. International comparisons of levels of literacy have been interpreted as an indication of a prevailing literacy crisis that demands political actions to avoid negative impact on national competitiveness, democracy, and coherence. ―The bilingual student is placed in the core of this debate, as he or she is portrayed as a main cause of the low national placement in the international rankings (Holm & Laursen, forthcoming). The above conditions tend to give rise to mismatch between the realities of the students‘ actual language and literacy practices and the official educational conception of literacy and classifications of 'the bilingual student‘. In the official educational discourse literacy seems to be constructed as a unified concept streamlined for administration and measurement (Prinsloo & Baynham, 2008), and linguistic diversity seems to be associated with societal problems and educational failure. The symbol of the societal problem seems to be ―the bilingual student, who increasingly is conceived of as a threat to a school‘s profile (Rampton, Harris & Leung, 2001). In search of a critical postmodern perspective on classroom studies, as advocated by Lin & Luk (2002), the study 'Signs of language‘ (2008-2014) aims to investigate the possibilities of restructuring the literacy practices in multilingual classrooms by giving attention to the children‘ s actual language and literacy use and understandings in concrete local socio-cultural contexts.