Learning, teaching and assessment of second foreign languages in Swedish lower secondary school – dilemmas and prospects

Camilla Bardel, Gudrun Erickson, Rakel Österberg

Modern languages, Second foreign languages, Lower secondary school, Sweden, Attitudes


This paper presents an overview of second foreign language (SFL) education in Sweden, especially at lower secondary level. It offers a survey of the historical development of the study of other languages than English as well as a reflection over the current state of the subject. Currently, there is a shortage of research on the circumstances and conditions of the learning, teaching and assessment of the Swedish school subject Modern languages, as well as on young people’s proficiency in other languages than English in Sweden. In order to contribute to a knowledge base for further research, the current paper reviews work considering the Swedish context concerning: a) frame factors, policy issues and organization of SFL studies b) attitudes towards plurilingualism and SFL motivation, c) teacher education and recruitment policies, and d) levels of attainment at the end of compulsory school. Throughout the paper, the European context is also taken into account. The paper ends with a discussion of the general status of the subject Modern languages in Swedish school and society, the fact that this subject is not mandatory, and the consistently high dropout rate that characterizes the current situation.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies