Is Translanguaging an Ideal Method to Use in an ESL or FSL classroom?

Posted by Cheryl Lingjuan Yan (Post #3)

Translanguaging has had a forceful impact on the field of Applied Linguistics. It also has contributed greatly to our understandings of language, bilingualism and education (Garcia & Wei, 2013). Translanguaging is such a powerful method of language teaching, that it has been applied widely into a great number of ESL or FSL classrooms by language teachers. It reminds me of how a second language classroom is like in China. Learning English is mandatory in the Chinese Education system starting from the 3rd grade in elementary school through college. As a Chinese student, I acquired English as a second language since 9 years old. I remember when I was learning English, teachers did the code-switching all the time. Of course he/she would speak English in class in order to make us get more English exposure, but the good part is he/she would switch back to Mandarin as long as we had something hard to understand. English, to many L2 learners in China, represents a better future, more job opportunities and higher living standard. Therefore, people in China really have a strong motivation in learning it. Doubtlessly, it is not only in China, thanks to English’s dominant stance in in almost all facets in our society, such as politics, economy, education, etc. L2 English users continue and will continue to grow, far exceeding the the number of native English speakers.

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Language Biography

Aisha Abokraa

My native language is Arabic. There are many varieties of Arabic spoken in different regions and countries in the Arab world (Middle East). I speak the Libyan dialect, which I learned as my first language and which I use in everyday speaking situations. At school I also learned the standardized Arabic (Classical Arabic), which is used in writing and in formal prepared speech.

Formerly, the formal standardized Arabic was the norm; however, over time and for different reasons, different dialects started to appear in different  regions. These different dialects make it a bit challenging for Arabic speakers to be clearly understood by speakers of different Arabic dialects. I tend to adjust my speech to communicate with people from different Arabic-speaking regions. For example, I tend to switch dialects or to avoid using unfamiliar words from my dialect, or attempt to communicate using a commonly understood dialect, such as Lebanese, Egyptian or Syrian. These dialects tend to be commonly understood because of their strong media presence in many countries in the Arab world.

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