Speaker: Shiyu Jiang || PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania, Educational Linguistics at GSE

Discussant: Dr. Kate Menken || Professor of Linguistics and TESOL, Queens College

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This paper discusses past literature on multilingualism and translanguage pedagogy, and advocates for the implementation of such pedagogy in classrooms with multilinguals. The author first defines the concept of multilingualism and translanguaging and points out the empirical importance for educators to adopt these two concepts in classrooms. The translanguage pedagogy is used to call for a shift from what teachers want students to learn to what multilingual learners need and points out the various benefits associated with such shift. The urgency of the call comes from the rapid globalization and the increasing number of bi/multilingual students in the American K-12 system. As the classrooms become more linguistically diverse, the traditional “English only” monolingual teaching practice cannot best serve multilingual students. This is because English Language Learners (ELLs) come in with various cultural and linguistic background, and translanguage pedagogy, if adopted, can better assist ELLs navigate both academic and social life in schools. Then, the author used past literature to suggests ways that educators can use learners’ multilingual repertoire to implement the concept of translanguage pedagogy. This includes learning contexts in which educators share the same language repertoire with students, and contexts in which there is no overlap of languages between educators and students. At the end of the paper, the author points out the current research gap and gives suggestions for future research.