Student teachers’ expressions of ‘fear’ in handling linguistically diverse classrooms

Tjasa Draznik*, Júlia Llompart-Esbert, Mari Bergroth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


This study examined student teachers’ beliefs about teaching multilingual classrooms across three European contexts; Slovenia, Spain (Catalonia), and Finland. Research shows that teachers’ confidence in handling linguistically diverse classrooms is lacking. Linguistically sensitive teaching (LST) was used as a lens to explore different expressions of ‘fears’ in student teachers vis-à-vis handling plurilingual pedagogies. We collected reflections of 128 student teachers and carried out an inductive, thematic content analysis in multiple cycles. The findings showed that student teachers’ fears were related to the following five categories: 1) languages in society; 2) building relationships; 3) teaching skills and methods; 4) external evaluation and teacher’s autonomy, and 5) legislation and policies. Student teachers in all three contexts shared concerns over how to protect minority languages and how to obtain enough opportunities to train for LST. A major difference between the contexts emerged in the categories of building relationships and external evaluation. By examining student teachers’ expressions of fear in the Slovene, Catalan and Finnish contexts, the study gives clues to better design initial teacher education courses that support the inclusion of LST in teacher practices.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • beliefs
  • emotions
  • Europe
  • Initial teacher education
  • multilingualism
  • student teachers


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