Mother tongue tutoring ‘insufficient’: teachers

Children who have a first language other than Swedish don't get enough support in Swedish schools, according to a survey of teachers, many of whom are concerned that children of immigrants will fall behind in school.

Mother tongue tutoring 'insufficient': teachers

“The teachers are really frustrated as they see that mother tongue tutoring is really needed,” Eva-Lis Sirén, chair of the Swedish Teachers’ Union (Lärarförbundet) told the Metro newspaper.

A recent survey of 519 primary and secondary school teachers in Sweden revealed that nearly 60 percent of teachers have students they feel need extra help in their mother tongue.

However, only one in ten of these teachers feel their students get enough tutoring in their first language.

Teachers are concerned that competent immigrant children will end up performing poorly in school simply because they aren’t able to grasp what they’re being taught in Swedish.

“It’s easier for children to develop because they feel more secure in their own language and can use all the knowledge they already have,” language tutor Harriet Thernell told Metro.

Students who are unable to fully understand instructions spoken in Sweden may also lose interest in school, having a negative impact on their academic performance.

Sweden’s school act clearly states that “a student should get tutoring in his or her mother tongue, if the student needs it”.

But principals at many schools claim budget constraints restrict them from expanding mother tongue tutoring.

According to Sirén of the teachers’ union, however, the problem lies with politicians who simply say “there isn’t any money”.

“They simply don’t take the issue seriously enough,” she told the paper.

TT/The Local/dl

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime