Teaching English through Pedagogical Translanguaging

Contributor: Eunmi Gwak | Reviewer: Anna Mendoza | Date: 2021-05-10

Overview of the Study

Translanguaging reflects the shift from monolingual ideologies in the study of multilingual education to multilingual ideologies and dynamic views of multilingualism. García (2009, p. 45) defines translanguaging as dynamic pedagogy and ‘multiple discursive practices in which bilinguals engage in order to make sense of their bilingual words.’ Cenoz and Gorter (2014) consider that the multilingual speaker’s whole linguistic repertoire has to be taken into account when learning and using languages. Pedagogical translanguaging implies a focus on multilingualism based on the concept of the multilingual speaker, the whole linguistic repertoire and the social context. It aims at reinforcing the learning process by using the whole linguistic repertoire rather than avoiding the knowledge multilinguals have because of their own linguistic and educational background.

Research Methods

The article is a conceptual essay, rather than IMRD study with research methods used to collect data. The authors wrote an essay with different sections.

Results (Summary)

This article starts with the introduction of translanguaging in education followed by the four main points. The first point is about English and multilingualism in the 21st century. An important point to consider is that in many parts of the world, users of English are often multilingual because they speak other languages as well. The first two decades of the 21st century in many parts of the world have developed a more intense and dynamic relationship between English and multilingualism. Second, current language education phenomena are moving away from monolingual ideologies. In that topic, the authors talk about the difference between the monolingual and multilingual speaker, the difference between English only and multilingual repertoires, and the difference between decontextualized classroom and social contexts. They mostly emphasize the characteristics of multilinguals. Their linguistic trajectories are richer and more dynamic, and emotions form part of multilingual trajectories such as anxiety when learning new languages. Multilinguals can use resources from different languages as well. The third point is the concept of translanguaging. Translanguaging is associated with multilingualism. It is a pedagogical practice designed by the teacher who uses a stronger language to develop the weaker one, and in this way, it implies a deep understanding of meaning and can result in increased proficiency in the two languages. The last point is the relationship between pedagogical translanguaging and metalinguistic awareness. Understanding of translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy is related to the original concept used in Welsh bilingual education, and it has some differences because it goes beyond the use of a specific strategy in bilingual classes. Pedagogical translanguaging aims at activating the resources and developing metalinguistic awareness so that students can benefit from their own multilingualism.

Practical Implications/Significance

Multilinguals are different from monolinguals and are not expected to have the same level of proficiency in the languages in their multilingual repertoire. The reference of the monolingual native speaker is no longer valid for our multilingual and dynamic society, and translanguaging education is a very helpful teaching method for multilinguals.

Original Text:  Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2020). Teaching English through pedagogical translanguaging. World Englishes, 39(2), 300-311. doi:10.1111/weng.12462

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