Jeanette Toth

Jeanette Margaretha Toth


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Telephone 08-120 767 33
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10, E-F
Room 971
Postal address Institutionen för språkdidaktik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

After having received my Bachelor of Arts in chemistry and French from Alfred University (USA) in 1996, I moved to Sweden and have since then received my teaching certification from Linköping University in these subjects for compulsory school as well as taken courses at Stockholm University on bilingualism and teaching Swedish as a second language.

Between 2013 and 2018 I was a PhD student at the Department of Language Education (ISD), where I defended my thesis August 31, 2018. As of September 1, 2018, I am working as a senior lecturer at ISD where I am teaching courses in Swedish as a Second Language and English.


The title of my PhD thesis is English-medium instruction for young learners in Sweden: A longitudinal case study of a primary school class in a bilingual English-Swedish school.

This ethnographic case study has investigated policies, practices, and perspectives regarding language use in a bilingual English-Swedish primary school in Sweden. Data has been collected longitudinally in a class over a period of three years during grades four through six, consisting of classroom observations, interviews with stakeholders and artifacts such as photographs of instructional materials and learners' multimodal production. Results from the study are expected to yield an improved understanding of conditions for learning in the bilingual primary school where English-medium instruction is offered.​


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Jeanette Toth (et al.).

    This thesis aims to highlight the policies, perspectives, and practices of language use in a bilingual English-Swedish primary class during Grades 4–6, where English was the medium of instruction in several subjects. A rapidly increasing number of Swedish compulsory schools offer these programs, which are often associated with high status and academic achievement (Skolverket, 2010). Although several studies have investigated content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and English-medium instruction (EMI) at upper secondary schools in Sweden, there is little research on such programs for young learners in the Swedish context. As students may start learning English in Swedish schools as late as Grade 3, young learners who begin attending English-medium programs in Grade 4 may have limited knowledge of English, which can have implications for their content learning. 

    In this thesis, which is situated within an ecology of language framework (van Lier, 2004), questions about language ideologies, teacher and learner beliefs regarding teaching and learning in an additional language, and translanguaging practices have been explored in the three studies included here. Data has been collected over three school years within the larger longitudinal case study, including policy texts, informational brochures, schedules, statistics, instructional materials, student texts, audiorecorded interviews with 13 members of staff and 22 students, audiorecorded lesson observations, fieldnotes, and photos of the school and classroom landscape as well as of instructional materials and student texts. 

    Study I, which focused on stated and practiced language policies concerning languages of instruction in an EMI program in a Swedish compulsory school, revealed a linguistic hierarchy privileging English and a native speaker ideal. While Swedish was also valued as the other language of instruction, minoritized languages such as multilingual students' mother tongues were marginalized. Likewise, in Study II, which explored stakeholder beliefs about the EMI program, it was found that while English was highly valued among the participants and Swedish was considered to be a source of support for students in the English-medium classroom, other languages were mostly invisibilized in the mainstream classroom. However, despite a prevailing belief that students learned English naturally through language immersion by being "forced" to use it to communicate with the native English-speaking teachers, there were also concerns about implications for students' development of subject-specific Swedish. Finally, in Study III, analysis of language choices in English-medium Science and Mathematics lessons revealed how the use of English and Swedish could function as resources for teaching and learning

    Although the findings from this case study may not necessarily apply to other English-medium programs, they nonetheless have implications for policymakers at the national and local levels, as well as for teachers and students involved in such programs. Ideological assumptions about languages and language learning have been shown to shape both policy and practice within educational contexts such as the school in this study. It is therefore imperative that stakeholders are made aware of the challenges involved with teaching and learning in an additional language, so that these programs can be organized in a way that promotes content learning as well as learners' multilingual development.

  • 2017. Jeanette Toth. Journal of Immersion and Content Based Language Education 5 (2), 214-237

    This case study explores the questions of how national and local education policies address languages of instruction for a Swedish compulsory school offering English-medium instruction (hereafter EMI) as well as how these policies are interpreted and implemented in practice. Critical discourse analysis provides a framework for examining the relationship between stated and enacted policies at the various institutional levels. Methods from linguistic ethnography yielded rich data including classroom observations, interviews, and artifact collection over a period of three school years in grades four through six. Findings from the study reveal discourses of language hierarchies, a native speaker ideal privileging English and practices that reflect varying degrees of language separation. While Swedish is occasionally used to support English-medium content learning, there is little space for students' mother tongues in the mainstream classroom. The findings from this study have implications for how stakeholders may put language-in-education policies into practice in EMI programs.

  • 2017. Jeanette Toth, BethAnne Paulsrud. New Perspectives on Translanguaging and Education, 189-207
Show all publications by Jeanette Margaretha Toth at Stockholm University

Last updated: June 3, 2019

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