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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Translanguaging: the answer to the multilingual classroom?

Yuting Zhao:

“In a multilingual classroom, students not only bring their different languages to the classroom, but they bring their families as well”. After the class, these words have continued to resonate in my mind. I have a feeling that this sentence is meaningful in education but I was a little confused why students can bring their family to the classroom. Now I have an answer. I think the sentence means that students’ knowledge are shaped by their families, community, and cultural histories. Teachers are supposed to build on students’ diverse family-shaped knowledge (including language) to conduct their teaching practice. This understanding makes me realize that translanguaging may be a better answer to a multilingual classroom. To support this idea, I also want to share my former experience both as a teacher and a student.

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