In ‘What You Should Know About Translanguaging: Part 1’, we looked at how a translanguaging approach to teaching EFL/ESOL can lead to more inclusive practice by validating the different languages – and therefore identities – learners bring to the classroom. Using a translanguaging pedagogy means acknowledging and incorporating multilingualism into classroom practice and here in Part 2 we outline two main categories of activity you might want to try out.
Kramsch (2014) identifies four different types of translation: transference of meaning across linguistic codes i.e. what is traditionally thought of as translation; across discourse frames – from different perspectives; across forms of media, and finally across modalities i.e. from linguistic to non-linguistic sense-making. Here are some suggested activities for each type of meaning transfer:
Varying the language of input, processing and output* is one way of validating multilingualism and drawing on all the learner’s linguistic resources. Activities could include:
Writing a story
- Gather information & note ideas in L1
- Discuss ideas in English
- Develop ideas/draft in L1
- Collaborate to produce final story in English
Summarising an article
- Find article in L1
- Share with group/partner in English
- Write/present summary in English
What do you think about using translation and multilingual tasks with your classes? Perhaps they seem counter-intuitive; it seems to be taken for granted that the best way to learn a new language is complete immersion, ‘untainted’ by the learner’s L1. This notion of linguistic purity in the classroom arguably serves to uphold the status of the so-called Native Speaker in our industry. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests English-only immersion programmes may not be as effective as once thought. A Stanford University study (2014)**, for example, revealed that while student language gains in an English-only immersion programme were greater in the short-term than those achieved in a bilingual programme, the latter cohort performed better in the long run. If such findings do eventually lead to a paradigm shift towards translanguaging, we may well see a more equitable spread of power between EFL/ESOL teachers of all L1s and a greater demand for bilingual & multilingual teachers.
García, O., & Hesson, S. (2015). Translanguaging frameworks for teachers: Macro and micro perspectives. In A. Yiacoumetti, Multilingualism and Language in Education: Current Sociolinguistic and Pedagogical Perspectives from Commonwealth Countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 221-242.
Kramsch, C. (2014). The Challenge of Globalization for the Teaching of Foreign Languages and Cultures. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. Vol. 11 Issue 2, p249-254.