Dual Language SchoolsTranslanguaging: A Strategy to Develop Authentic Biliteracy in Language Immersion Classrooms

01/2019
Author Photo: Angela Palmieri

By: Angela Palmieri

Founding teacher of John Muir Dual Language Academy, Glendale, CA
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Image for Article: Translanguaging: A Strategy to Develop Authentic Biliteracy in Language Immersion Classrooms

Translanguaging is a dynamic process in which multilingual language users utilize their language systems to make meaning and to develop cooperation amongst languages. Translanguaging involves language production, functions, and thought processes behind language use. It is the complex and fluid practices of bilinguals, as well as the pedagogical practices that the teacher employs to leverage those practices (Vogel & Garcia, 2017). Translanguaging is a process that equalizes the languages spoken in the classroom, and removes language hierarchies that exist in the dominant culture. It promotes a deeper understanding of the subject matter and it helps the development of the students' weaker language. It is a strategy centered not only on languages, but on the observable and dynamic practices of bilinguals. Ofelia Garcia (2009), the author of Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective, states that "translanguaging are multiple discursive practices in which bilinguals engage in order to make sense of their bilingual worlds" (p. 45). It goes beyond code switching and translation because it refers to the process of making meaning and simultaneous literacy. Code-switching refers to the alternation between languages in specific communicative situations, whereas translanguaging is a process of making meaning, and the focus is on how the language user draws upon different linguistic and cognitive resources to make sense. Translanguaging theory recognizes that all people, including monolinguals and bilinguals, have one linguistic repertoire, learned through dynamic social interactions, and from which they select and employ features to make meaning in context (Vogel & Garcia, 2017).

Garcia & Vogel (2017) state the core components of teachers' translanguaging pedagogy as identified in García, Johnson, and Seltzer (2017):

  1. Stance: A belief that students' diverse linguistic practices are valuable resources to be built upon and leveraged in their education.
  2. Design: A strategic plan that integrates students' in-school and out-of-school or community language practices. The design of instructional units, lesson plans, and assessment are informed and driven by students' language practices and ways of knowing, and also ensure that students have enough exposure to, and practice with, the language features that are required for different academic tasks.
  3. Shifts: An ability to make moment-by-moment changes to an instructional plan based on student feedback.

Continue reading to learn more about translanguaging….

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