|Author(s)||Hafdis Ingvarsdottir, Eyrun Maria Runarsdottir, Sigrun Adalbjarnardottir|
|Editor||A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship|
There seems to be general agreement that learning the language is a key factor in how well new citizens fare in their adopted country (for example, Mesch, 2003). Teachers play a key role as students develop their second language (Jacobsen, 1999). As we have established elsewhere (Adalbjarnardottir and Runarsdottir, 2003), until recently very few immigrants came to Iceland, and these were mostly from neighbouring countries. In the last decade the number of immigrants has increased rapidly and we are facing a completely new state of affairs concerning migrants and their reasons for coming here. At this moment, when the teaching of Icelandic as a second language (ISL) is in its infancy, we believe it is vital to understand how teachers in this key position are being prepared for this and how they see their role. At present we are engaged in a research project, Teacher Education Addressing Multiculturalism in Europe (TEAM), studying the aims and practices of teachers working with students from other countries (see the symposium papers elsewhere in this volume). This project is the first of its kind in Iceland; we hope it will provide important data to inform decisions on how best to educate and support teachers of immigrants.