Translanguaging and culture in language teaching
Under the Supervision of Professor: Dr. Sarkeshikian
Reza Zeinal Langaroudi
Qom Payamenoor University
What is translanguaging? What is the meaning of translanguaging form language and bilingualism point of view on the one hand, and for teaching and learning process and bilingual education on the other? Translanguaging is a new and evolving topic. Cen Williams Bilingual first used this Walsh word in the schools of Wales in 1980s and after publishing the two books, Baker’s Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (2011) and Ofelia Garc?a’s (2009a) Bilingual Education in the 21st Century, it achieved relative reputation. Baker (2011) in his book defined Translanguaging as “The process of making meaning, shaping experiences, gaining understanding and knowledge through the use of two languages”. It is a process in which multilingual language users, use their language in a dynamic and integrated way to mediate complex social and cognitive activities, managing an effective communication and in order to learning. In short, we can say translanguaging is an approach to the use of language, bilingualism and the education. As it receives more attention, scholars considered translanguaging as a helping device for educating. Cummins (2008) States that Translanguaging meaning is more than just accepting or tolerating multilingual children who use their own language at school. He claims that considerable con?dence can be placed in the positive outcomes of bilingual education. Therefore, due to the increasing interest in this category and its educational aspects teachers are also interested in the pedagogical achievements of this practice. However, the active teaching of translanguaging has raised serious practical and theoretical questions that have not so far received good responses and have not been adequately discussed in this regard. The purpose of this article is to critically examine different findings about translanguaging and its relationship with culture and education.
Perhaps it would be surprising if you knew that the first scientists who traced the subject of Trans were biologists, not linguists. Two Chilean biologists, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, who presented the theory of autopoeisis in 1973. Autopoeisis argues that we cannot separate the biological and social history of actions from the ways in which someone perceive the world. Maturana and Varela state our experience, is rooted in our structure and make our knowledge. Our knowledge mostly comes from action and practice and is not simply based on acquiring the relevant features of a pre-given world. Maturana and Varela (1998: 26) “All doing is knowing, and all knowing is doing”. Based on autopoeisis view they state life their observations about language:
It is by languaging that the act of knowing, in the behavioral coordination which is language, brings forth a world. We work out our lives in a mutual linguistic coupling, not because language permits us to reveal ourselves but because we are constituted in language in a continuous becoming that we bring forth with others. (1998: 234–235).
A. L. Becker (1998) was another scholar who expressed his views on languaging. He argued that language is not just a code or a system of rules, but what he perceives as languaging, forms our experiences, preserves them, retrieves them and communicates with them when needed. Becker believes that the function of language is the use of prior knowledge of language in a new context. In terms of Becker, the purpose of learning through trans is not simply to learn codes and rules and forms of language, but to enter a previous linguistic and cultural experience in a new context for learning, ‘a new way of being in the world’ (1995: 227).
Followed by Baker, an Argentinean linguist named Walter Mignolo states that languaging is not a simply a system of syntax, semantic and phonetic rules, but it is a way of thinking and communicating between languages in oral and written forms.
I continue this review by definition of bilingualism. Haugen (1956) defined the term of bilingual as: “People with a number of different language skills, having in common only that they are not monolingual” He knows a bilingual a person who knows two languages”. Uriel Weinreich (1974) stated a similar definition: ‘The practice of alternately using two languages will be called bilingualism, and the persons involved, bilingual’. Two other important terms are multilingual and plurilingual. Multilingual means knowing and using more than two languages and plurilingual means an ability to use several languages at different level for different purposes. Similarly, a bilingual community or classroom are those in them people speak in two or more languages. The question that arises here is whether a bilingual person has exactly the same proficiency in different skills in both languages. The answer to this question is definitely “no”.Since bilinguals will use different languages in different situations and with different people. Thus, bilinguals may be stronger in each language in different domains (Baker, 2011).
Some scholars define the concept of bilingualism as two independent languages. However, other scholars believe unlike the view of two separate systems, bilingualism is dynamic not just additive and it goes beyond the notion of two autonomous languages. Dynamic bilingualism suggests that the language practices of bilinguals are complex and interrelated that implies one linguistic system (Garcia, 2009). In short, on the contrary, the traditional bilingualism that believes the existence of two independent linguistic systems dynamic bilingualism brings two linguistic system closer and suggest there is one linguistic system with integrating the feature of two linguistic systems. The dynamic Bilingual Model is related the theories of translanguaging.
As I mentioned in previous section, when talking about translanguaging we do not refer to two separate languages of additive bilingualism, nor to a synthesis of different language practices. Translanguaging refers to a new language practice that connect different people with different history and culture. Translanguaging is the performance of language practices that apply different characteristics that had before moved autonomously and limited by different histories, but that now are experienced against each other in speakers’ interactions as one new whole. Translanguaging theory can be used for three reasons. First, this theory helps emphasize the importance of including languages other than a special language in the classroom. Second, this theory states how language use relates to specific learning contexts. Finally, this theory show us the way languages are used to infer meaning within a context. Theory of translanguaging is not as a set of rules or skills to be acquired and to be followed, but as a means of negotiating and making meaning between participants in a communication and a product of social relations. (Garcia, 2009). In other words, it is the communicative practices associated with moving across languages within interaction to negotiate of meaning.
In most bilingual societies all around the world, schools provide education for their students only in one language, the dominant language of that area. However, in some parts of the world, bilingual and multilingual education is available in some schools. In these schools content and language learning are integrated. Two or more ‘languages’ are used as a medium of instruction (Baker, 2011; Cenoz, 2009; Garcia, 2009a). In many international context, the growing popularity of translanguaging in education can be seen as get rid of many negative senses and have made a new point of view about bilinguals and bilingualism in the In the early of 20th century. The new point of view includes: additive (in this case a second language adds to native language rather than replaces it) instead of subtractive bilingualism (Garc?a, 2009a; Lambert, 1974), holistic rather than fractional conceptualizations of bilinguals (Grosjean, 2008, 2010), code-switching as natural in early childhood language development compared with strict one parent one language (OPOL) compartmentalization strategies (Baker, 2010).
Translanguaging approach change and develop the common definition of bilingual education concept that we will construct through a, focusing on complex linguistic interactions in classrooms. In other words a translanguaging approach in education is not an alternative for bilingual education programs but, translanguaging in education transforms and extends traditional bilingual education programs. The remarkable point in this article is that we use bilingual education as an umbrella term, and whenever we use it, we also mean trilingual and multilingual as well.
Translanguaging and Education
The aim of translanguaging in language teaching is to use a language to strengthen another language in order to enhance students’ understanding and enhance their ability in both languages by a process strong cognitive bilingual engagement (as cited in Lewis, Jones and Baker, 2012b). In 2001, Baker in his famous book third edition of “Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism”, discusses some potential educational advantages to translanguaging, in order to arguing the importance of the concept as a pedagogical approach:
· It may cause a deeper and fuller understanding of the subject matter.
· It may help to strength the weaker language.
· It may make and facilitate home-school links and co-operation.
· It may help the integration of ?uent speakers with early learners.
Based on Vygotsky idea “zone of proximal development” learning new a language is based on the development of prior knowledge and cross-linguistic transfer (CLI) (Cummins, 2008). It means that students try to learn a new language by applying different ways in which one language can affect another within an individual speaker. It typically involves two languages that can affect one another in a bilingual speaker.
It is possible in a monolingual teaching situation, for students to answer questions or write an essay about a subject without fully understanding it. Processing for meaning may not have occurred. Whole sentences or paragraphs can be copied or adapted out of a textbook, from the internet or from dictation by the teacher without real understanding. It is less easy to do this with ”translanguaging”. To read and discuss a topic in one language, and then to write about it in another language, means that the subject matter has to be processed and “digested” (Baker, 2011, p. 289).
The remarkable point here is that the teacher should not allow students to use both languages without programming and without purpose, as this can disrupt the teaching of the new language. In bilingual schools, students can use both languages. However, this use should be planned and targeted in order to achieve positive translanguaging advantages.
As previously mentioned, a bilingual person cannot have the same competence in both languages. Translanguaging can help to strengthen a weaker language. It may help students to improve competence in the weaker language, as it may prevent them from undertaking the main part of their work through the stronger language while attempting less challenging tasks in their weaker language (Lewis, Jones, & Baker, 2012). P 64
Translanguaging can create a link between home and school and lead to some sort of collaboration. Since it can re-process the content, it increases the comprehension of the learned language by transferring the contents into the home and discussing them with parents in another language (Baker, 2011).
If a logical and planned use occurs in both languages in the classroom, the integration of the first language with the second language is learning with different levels of learning can be facilitated by translanguaging. In this case L2 competance and subject content learning can be
improved simultaneously by a sensitive and strategic useing of both languages in the classroom (Maillat & Serra, 2009).
According to Garcia (2011) Translanguaging moves beyond the code switching and translation in education because it is the process by which bilingual people act bilingually in countless ways, including reading, writing, discussing and singing. In bilingual American classes, immigrant students who are studying English learn from the early stages by teachers to move from traditional bilingualism to translanguaging (dynamic bilingualism) to think and improve their inner speech. Garcia (2009b) mentions the role of translanguaging in improving bilingualism as follow:
Emergent bilinguals do not acquire a separate additional language, but develop and integrate new language practices into a complex dynamic bilingual repertoire in which translanguaging is both the supportive context and the communicative web itself.
The educational goal of translanguaging in a class is to strength the new language while saving the old one through a complex set of practices in all languages by all students and teacher (Hornberger, 2005). The role of translanguaging in schools is not just providing the facilities for bilingual students to use all their linguistics capacities to make meaning, but it used by teachers as a pedagogical practice. Translanguaging is not a template for content and language, but a transformative for trainee, trainers, and especially bilingual education.
Translanguaging Pedagogical Practice
The issue that we need to look at is whether translanguaging training needs a special educational strategy, and we should essentially seek a specific strategy for this kind of education in bilingual schools? A lot of research has been done or is in progress. The results of this research indicate that Trans is a natural phenomenon that naturally finds its way. In most of these studies, it was found that translanguaging action is not a predetermined strategy by teachers. The best strategy that a teacher can employ is to provide the right context for students to make the most of their multi-language capabilities. In this case, the role of the teacher is to further co-operate with students in learning the language (Hornberger, 2003). Of course, it is clear that we are at the beginning of the research on the strategy of bilingual education.
What studies show in this regard is that translanguaging is a is a naturally occurring phenomenon for multilingual students, and this phenomenon cannot be limited to monolingual learning strategies. Translanguaging can be done by the teachers’ minimal strategies. Some may even conclude that translanguaging should not be taught at all. It can be done even at home or social context, and the only thing that school should do is to provide an appropriate environment for practicing. (Bhatia & Ritchie 2004).
Bilingualism, Education or Translanguaging Education
Despite the fact that bilingual education has spread all over the world, most children are still taught in monolingual programs. These students often sit silently in classrooms and are trained in wrong way. As we mentioned, bilingual education takes place in homes rather than in schools.
Translanguaging offers a way to do this by transgressing educational structures and practices, offering not just a navigational space that crosses discursive boundaries, but a space in which competing language practices, as well as knowledge and doing, emerging from both home and school are brought together. (Garcia, 2014)
Translanguaging transforms and rebuilds the linguistic hierarchy and develops practices that are very valuable to the everyday life communication in school, the home environment, and society. Trance broadens the language of student’s every day at home and school and blends them together. It goes beyond the knowledge of linguistics, and it is worth noting that the linguistic activities of bilingual students are not separate from their first and second language, or separately from their language at home and at school, but transcend both (Moje, 2004). The important difference between traditional bilingualism and translanguaging education is that bilingualism takes into account the function of languages in isolation and separate them from each other, but translanguaging education encourages students to simultaneously empower both languages in their home and school settings.
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