Icelandic as a second language: university students’ experiences




higher education, second language, teaching methods, qualitative research, Icelandic


The aim of this paper is to present and analyze how university students experience teaching methods of Icelandic as a second language and communication with teachers during the learning process. The theoretical framework includes multicultural education theory and second language teaching and learning theories. The findings are based on qualitative interviews with twelve students who study Icelandic as a second language at the University of Iceland. The analysis of the interviews revealed that the participants were generally satisfied with the learning environment and had positive experiences of communication with the majority of the teachers. Nevertheless, the participants described themselves as being rather passive recipients of knowledge in the courses where explicit teaching of grammar was applied, and lacking active participation in the learning process. Additionally, the participants encountered several challenges during the learning process such as issues related to task-based and group assignments and, in some cases, teachers lacked understanding of different students’ needs, such as that of providing extra learning materials.

Um höfund (biographies)

Artëm Ingmar Benediktsson, School of Education, University of Iceland

Artëm Ingmar Benediktsson ( is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Education, University of Iceland. He completed a B.S. degree in geology from the People’s Friendship University of Russia in 2008, a B.A. degree in Danish from the University of Iceland in 2013 and an M.A. degree in Nordic studies from the University of Iceland in 2015. Artëm embarked on his Ph.D. in 2016. His research focuses on immigrant students’ experiences of learning environments and teaching methods used in Icelandic universities.

Hanna Ragnarsdóttir, School of Education, University of Iceland

Hanna Ragnarsdottir ( is a professor at the School of Education, University of Iceland. She completed a B.A. degree in anthropology and history from the University of Iceland in 1984, an M.Sc. degree in anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1986, and a Dr.philos. in education from the University of Oslo in 2007. Her research has mainly focused on immigrants and refugees (children, adults, and families) in Icelandic society and schools, multicultural education, and school reform.






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