In this qualitative study, we draw on theory and practice in relation to the concepts of fixity and fluidity in language education (i.e. the simultaneity of bounded, named languages; and the need to transcend language boundaries). We use data from focus group interviews to investigate the entangled ideological dilemmas facing four teachers in a Language Introduction Programme in an upper secondary school in Sweden, as they enacted literacy pedagogies (fluidity) against the backdrop of high stakes standardised tests, age-out limits, and residency criteria (fixity) for youth from refugee backgrounds. We asked: What ideological dilemmas do language teachers in an introductory programme perceive relative to the language needs of youth from refugee backgrounds as they strive to implement promising practices? Our thematic analysis revealed three dilemmatic themes concerning ‘what’ to teach, ‘what’ resource materials to use, and ‘how’ to implement literacy pedagogies. From the lessons learned in our findings, we conclude with six thoughts for future consideration as teachers attempt to reconcile seemingly disparate perspectives on language teaching and learning in their local contexts.

DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2022.2126485
ISSN: 1434632