Translanguaging as pedagogy?
Adrian Blackledge
University of Birmingham
ESRC Seminar Series: Complementary Schools: Research, Policy and Practice
Goldsmiths and King’s College London
Final Conference on Complementary Schooling
Saturday December 4th 2010
Project Details
• Four interlinking case studies
Gujarati schools in Leicester,
Turkish schools in London,
Cantonese and Mandarin schools in Manchester
Bengali schools in Birmingham
• Complementary Schools
– Community-run
– Voluntary
– Weekends and after school
– Serving specific linguistic, religious and cultural groups through
community language classes
Research aims
• To explore the social, cultural and linguistic significance of complementary
schools both within their communities and in wider society
• To investigate the range of linguistic practices used in the different contexts
in the complementary schools
• To investigate how the linguistic practices of students and teachers in
complementary schools are used to negotiate young people’s multilingual
and multicultural identities.
• Ethnographically informed observation in schools
• Team field notes: 133 sets of fieldnotes representing 399 hours of fieldwork
• Digital audio recording of pupils and teachers: 192 hours of audio-recorded
interactional data
• Digital video recording of pupils and teachers: 16 hours of video-recorded
interactional data
• Interviews with 66 key stakeholders
• ‘Border crossings’
• Documentary evidence
Many parts of the world are now characterised by ‘superdiversity’,
distinguished by a dynamic interplay of variables among multiple-origin,
transnationally connected migrants
(Vertovec 2006, 2009)
New forms of multilingualism emerge that defy dominant understandings
of multilingualism as the ordered deployment of different languages
Language separation
Bilingual educators have usually insisted on the separation of the two
languages, one of which is English and the other, the child’s vernacular. By
strictly separating the languages, the teacher avoids, it is argued, cross
contamination, thus making it easier for the child to acquire a new
linguistic system as he/she internalizes a given lesson. . . . it was felt that
the inappropriateness of the concurrent use was so self-evident that no
research had to be conducted to prove this fact.
(Jacobson and Faltis, 1990:4)
Bilingualism as ‘double monolingualism’
‘Parallel monolingualism’ (Heller, 1999)
‘Bilingualism with diglossia’ (Baker, 2003; Fishman, 1967)
‘Bilingualism through monolingualism’ (Swain, 1983:4)
‘Two solitudes’ (Cummins, 2005)
‘Two monolinguals in one body’ (Gravelle, 1996:11).
Attitudes to codeswitching
• Feeling ‘embarrassed about codeswitching’ and ‘attributing it to careless
language habits’ (Shin 2005)
• Codeswitching is often lambasted as ‘bad practice’, blamed on teachers’
lack of English-language competence, or put to one side and/or swept
under the carpet (Martin, 2005:88)
Separate bilingualism
Tűrçe Konuş – <speak Turkish>
Bangla-e maato – <speak Bangla>
講中文 (Gong Chong man) <speak Chinese (Cantonese) >
说普通话 /说华语 (Shuo Putonghua/ Shuo Huayu) <speak Chinese
• Gujaratima < in Gujarati!>
Language(s) and boundaries
Flexible bilingualism (Creese and Blackledge, 2010)
Translanguaging (García, 2009)
Heteroglossia (Bakhtin, 1981; Bailey, 2007)
Truncated multilingualism (Blommaert 2009)
Polylingualism (Jørgensen 2008)
Plurilingualism (Canagarajah, 2009)
Codemeshing (Canagarajah, 2005; Young 2004)
Heterolingualism (Pratt 2010)
Metrolingualism (Pennycook 2010)
Everyday linguistic practices
[singing along to music] rock your body, rock
your body, rock your body, rock your body,
tumhare bina <without you> chaenna aaye
<there’s no peace> rock your body
(home audio-recording, Bengali case study)
Rumana, come on. I’m going amma, salam
alaikum <mother, salam alaikum >
salam alaikum abba, zaairam aami
<salam alaikum father. I’m going>
The Bengali classroom
miss why can’t we just go home
Bangla-e maato etaa Bangla class
<speak Bangla this is Bangla class>
khaali English maato to etaa Bangla class khene
<if you speak in English only then why is this the Bangla class?>
miss you can choose
I know English
because tumi Bangali <because you are Bengali>
my aunty chose it she speaks English all the time
yeah miss I’m not gonna come back, not for any more, watch miss
(classroom recording Bengali school)
Languaging and negotiation
bolwanu <speak>
shu bolwanu? <speak what?>
je discuss karyu hoi <what you discussed>
oh… [chat]…etle we discuss it and then decide what we gonna
say…miss ame ek bijanu kaie ke ek ek <so we discuss it….miss, do
we speak about each other or one by one>
tame decide karo ke kone bolwu chhe < you decide who speaks>
[PB allocates more topics to pairs while Ss chat among themselves]
mane doctor banwu chhe…I don’t really want to be a doctor…sorry I
do want to be a doctor, actually I don’t mind being a doctor…I want
to be…you know for the kiddie ones… [chat]… paediatrician…
karanke nana chhokra manda pade to sara karwani dawa apwi chhe.
<I want to be a doctor…when little children are ill, I want to give
them medicines to make them better…> Your turn, what do you want
to be?
chalo, tame taiyar chho? [talks to other Ss] ek... diwas…chalo….
< come on, are you ready?…one day…come on…>
what? we’re still writing…we have written that much [shows book to PB].
Not much, is it?
shena upper banawi chhe? < what is it about?>
kootro ane wandro < dog and the monkey>
kootro ne wandro? Shu banawi chhe warta?
< dog and the monkey? What story have you made?>
they make friends and they go out
be mitro chhe ane- < they are two friends and ->
they are going out
e bai mitro chhe, kootro ne wandro ne bai farwa jay chhe
< they are both friends and they go out (for a walk)>
they are going out
kya farwa jay? <where do they go?>
junglema < in the jungle>
junglema, wandrabhai junglema jai shake?
<in the jungle, can the monkey go into the jungle?>
no, they are going out [laugh]
sssh! Pachhi shu thyu? < then what happened?>
hello, hello, PC1661 [1661 in Cantonese] 你的學校叫做什麽?
<what’s your school called?>
[chatting, very noisily. A boy picks up the recorder and speaks into it]
曼城僑‘嘜嘜’華人子弟學校比人偷了一 個白色的錢銀東東。
stole a white money box, something from Manchester City Chinese
descendents school. we don’t know who stole it. now, we have to
search … search … search school bags>
請你派 <please send> Spiderman 和<and> Batman 來救我們
<to rescue us> thank you bye-bye
(classroom audio-recording, Cantonese school)
Bilingualism is not simply two separate monolingual codes, nor are
languages bounded autonomous systems (García 2009:5)
we should put at the centre people as actors who signify differently by
performing different language practices (García 2010:532)
‘The question is whether the type of spontaneous negotiation of languages
that we see in face to face conversations can be taught in the somewhat
constrained context of the classroom’ (Canagarajah & Liyanage,
Translanguaging pedagogy in the Panjabi classroom
• Transliteration: a practical strategy in contexts where the written form of a
language is unfamiliar or does not otherwise exist (Al-Azami, Kenner,
Mahera and Gregory, 2010)
• Translation: bilingual label quests; repetition and translation across
• Translanguaging: multiple discursive practices in interrelationship (Garcia
2009). Drawing on the totality of verbal resources available,
translanguaging goes beyond code-switching but incorporates it
Investigating discourses of inheritance and identity in four multilingual European settings
Developing pedagogies which reflect practice
What we need is a paradigm shift in language teaching. Pedagogy should
be refashioned to accommodate the modes of communication and
acquisition seen outside the classroom. . . (Canagarajah, 2009:210)
In the twenty-first century we are aware of the linguistic complexity of the
world, in which monolingual schooling seems utterly inappropriate.
Language differences are a resource, and bilingual education in all its
complexity and forms seems to be the only way to educate as the world
moves forward (García, 2009:16)
It is essential for language educators to fill up implementational spaces
with multilingual educational practices in the face of restrictive policies
(Hornberger 2005:606)
Translanguaging as pedagogy?
• Translanguaging as/for identity
• Translanguaging in use
• Translanguaging as medium of instruction
• Translanguaging in teacher education
• Translanguaging as ‘target language’

Carving out multilingual spaces: Translanguaging in and