The Policies and Contexts that Frame English Education and Use in Iceland

Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter provides an overview of the social, linguistic and educational policies that frame the use of English in Iceland. Icelanders have had easy access to English in their everyday lives, especially since WWII. English education begins early and, by the time of graduation from secondary school, Icelandic students have had up to ten years of English instruction. Educational and language policies are seen as dissonant with the complex language ecology of Iceland as they do not reflect the substantial presence of English in Iceland. National Curriculum Guides which categorize English with other foreign languages may constrain practice. The chapter begins with a short historical overview of contact with English. The historical account is followed by an introduction to prevailing Nordic and Icelandic language policies. The bulk of the chapter is devoted to educational policies, specifically, the National Curriculum Guides for English instruction for children at primary and secondary level. The chapter ends with a brief overview of studies on instructional practices and the educational outcomes of the policies and practices described. Findings suggest that children acquire much of their English proficiency outside the classroom.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducational Linguistics
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media B.V.
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameEducational Linguistics
ISSN (Print)1572-0292
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1656

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG.


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