Ofelia García

Friday 21 April 2023

Translanguaging and teaching English as a foreign language

How does translanguaging theory shift our perspective on the English language? What does this then mean for thinking of how EFL students become bilingual in different sociocultural contexts?  What are the pedagogical implications of understanding bilingualism/multilingualism from a translanguaging perspective?  

This presentation showcases two EFL teachers who have developed what we call a translanguaging juntos stance. One of the teachers is from a Latin American country; the other is from a European country.  We discuss the different national sociolinguistic and socioeconomic/ political contexts, the ideologies of policy makers, students, and teachers, and how these impact the take-up of translanguaging theory among educators who teach English as a foreign language. We describe how the two teachers in our case studies have shifted their instructional design as a result of developing a translanguaging stance, as well as the development of sociocultural consciousness of the powerful role that English has had in the history of colonialism and globalization, and its relationship to their local context. We discuss how the opening up of translanguaging spaces within EFL instruction enables students to act in English without giving up their identities, knowledge systems and cultural and linguistic practices.  As a result, they become more engaged with English learning. We end by summarizing ideological and pedagogical principles that must operate to open up translanguaging spaces in EFL instruction, and to ensure that English teaching is cognitively, as well as socially, just. 

About Ofelia:

Ofelia García is Professor Emerita in the Ph.D. programs in Urban Education and Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. García has published widely in the areas of bilingualism/multilingualism and bilingual education, language education, language policy, and sociology of language.  The American Educational Research Association has awarded her two Lifetime Research Achievement Awards – Distinguished Contributions to Social Contexts in Education (2019) and Bilingual Education (2017), as well as Second Language Acquisition Leadership through Research Award (2019). In 2022 she received the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages’ (ADFL) Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession from the Modern Language Association. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Education. For more, visit www.ofeliagarcia.org.