G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Pre-service subject teachers constructing pedagogical language knowledge in collaboration (2019)

Aalto, E. (2019). Pre-service subject teachers constructing pedagogical language knowledge in collaboration [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 158. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7950-8

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Aalto, Eija

eISBN: 978-951-39-7950-8

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 158

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (115 sivua, 55 sivua useina numerointijaksoina)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7950-8

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This study investigates pre-service subject teachers' approaches to language across the curriculum in multilingual and multicultural groups. Its purpose was to achieve a deeper understanding of how student teachers approach the current educational challenge of multilingual learner groups, what kind of understanding pre-service teachers have about language within content learning, and what kinds of collaborative efforts they make in co-constructing their knowledge and understanding when integrating language and content across subject borders. These issues were investigated in terms of collaborative construction of pedagogical language knowledge and pedagogical practices across subject boundaries. The approach of the study can be described as practitioner research as the researcher had a dual position of a teacher and a researcher, both developing teaching and conducting research. The aim was to enhance pre-service teacher education through gaining a deeper understanding of pre-service teachers' perceptions of language and collaboration across disciplines. The study addresses two main research questions: 1) What characterizes pre-service teachers' pedagogical language knowledge? 2) What characterizes pre-service teachers' collaborative practice development across subject-boundaries? The study consists of three articles, each approaching pedagogical language knowledge from a different angle. The data were derived from a questionnaire with built-in applied tasks aimed at 221 pre-service subject teachers, and two teaching interventions in which two pre-service teacher teams planned and conducted a study unit integrating a content and language (Finnish) subject in a multilingual setting. The intervention data consists of audio-recorded planning sessions and group interviews, video-recorded lessons, student teachers' individual diaries, and field notes taken by the researcher. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis. The findings show that the pre-service teachers' pedagogical language knowledge echoes to a large extent traditional understandings, constructed during their own school path, of language as merely grammar and vocabulary. Language is perceived mainly as word-level entities instead of viewing language use in relation to genres and situations and supporting learners to succeed in wider contexts. The second language learner perspective regarding language and content learning was clearly new to the student teachers under study, and setting linguistic aims was seemingly challenging. However, language played a major role in pedagogical practice development, as learners' Finnish language skill deficiencies tended to guide the planning process of teaching in a multilingual group. The student teachers' difficulty in defining the disciplinary language and the role of language in content learning seemed to make it difficult to cross the disciplinary boundaries and construct a practice that integrates both subjects in a meaningful way, instead of connecting isolated contents and working modes from each subject. In conclusion, the study argues that deeper understanding of student teachers’ collaborative meaning-making process is crucial for developing pre-service teacher education in terms of timely supervision practices and relevant supportive tools.

Keywords: subject teachers; teacher training; teaching and instruction; learning; language-aware teaching; integrated teaching; pedagogy; pedagogical thinking; collaborative learning; cooperation (general); curriculum subjects; Finnish as a second language; second language; language skills; use of language; content analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

Last updated on 2021-09-06 at 08:42