Teaching students want second language acquisition skills

1:49 min

Prospective teachers should take compulsory courses in second language acquisition in order to meet the needs of new students coming from other countries, according to the student branch of the National Union of Teachers in Sweden.

The government has already made big investments in second language learning for qualified teachers but the student association thinks it's not enough. Isak Skogstad, head of the association, argues the need for this skill is so big that it should be part of the curriculum.

"We need long-term investments and those who are studying today are the teacher's of the future, so it's essential that they acquire these skills in Swedish as a second language," he tells Swedish Radio News.

The student association of the National Union of Teachers joined the conservative Moderate Party earlier this summer to demand this change in the curriculum. Now other stakeholders are also raising their voice for a shift.

A fellow organization, the Swedish Teachers' Union, believes Swedish as a second language should not be a separate course, but permeate the entire curriculum.

Karin Sandwall Åsberg, at the National Center for Swedish as a Second Language, agrees:

"The teachers' program needs it as a general perspective, not as a single course in the curriculum. All the courses in the program should take into account that 20 percent of the students have a different background," she says.

But Higher Education and Research Minister Helene Hellmark Knutsson, does not want to drive a change at the national level.

"Our main approach is that it's up to each educational centre to handle the design and organization of the curriculum," she says.