Adolescents’ learning of civics in linguistically diverse classrooms: A thematic literature review


  • Pantea Rinnemaa Doctoral candidate



Civic education, second language students, content area learning, literacy development, prior knowledge


Purpose: This article explores the interrelationship between second-language students’ literacy development and civics learning in studies focusing on L2 students’ civics learning.

Design/methodology/approach: The conceptual framework and the analytical tool in this thematic literature review consists of a four-field model in which the four key components of a. literacy abilities, b. disciplinary literacy abilities, c. prior knowledge, and d. content-area knowledge are in focus.

Findings: It is suggested that an interaction between the four components (a-d) could support the students’ civics learning and literacy development. Civics teachers play a crucial role in making the content knowledge comprehensible. Second-language students’ language- and content-related difficulties are better understood in connection to the civics tasks and activities that they work with in civics classrooms.

Practical implications: This article addresses issues of continuous education in civics for teachers in L2 civics classrooms.

Author Biography

Pantea Rinnemaa, Doctoral candidate

Pantea Rinnemaa is a Ph.D. student at the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden. Her main research interests include second language acquisition, sociolinguistic, literacy, content-area learning, and disciplinary literacy. Her field of research is didactic classroom studies with focus on language education. She is currently researching second-language students’ and their civics teachers’ perceptions of difficulties with reading and understanding of textbook texts in civics in grade nine.


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