Li Wei
UCL Institute of Education
Structure and Content
 Rethinking ‘community language’ and
‘community language education’ in the global
 the relationships between complementary
schools and the so-called mainstream schools
 Translanguaging perspective on community
language education
 How Translanguaging challenges ‘separate
multilingualism’ – post-multilingualism
Community and Community Language in
Globalization and Superdiversity
 Community – a set of relationships between
individuals with shared cultural heritage
and/or values
 In 21st century, communities differ in sizes,
history, demography (ethnicity, gender and
sexuality, age, social class, occupation, etc),
location (can be mobile or virtual), and of
course language
 Communities are not static; they change and
move, and are connected globally
 Community language is the language by and
for a specific set of social relationships
 A community language is often
simultaneously a national language or even
an international language in a different
 Most communities (especially migrant) have
more than one language, because they need
to have and deal with multiple sets of social
Community language education in
globalization and superdiversity
 CLE is for enhancing different social
relationships between people and peoples
 Cultural heritage and cultural values are key
components of CLE
 CLE has to address nationalism and national
 CLE has to address global issues and
intercultural communication
New ‘Global’ Thinking of CLE
 Traditional purposes of CLE:
 *family relations
 *community cohesion (within)
 *cultural heritage/identity
 NOT *passing exams; *getting jobs
 New citizenship and national identity
 Community relations (outward looking)
 Global outlook
In need of research evidence to
demonstrate: Consequences and
Benefits of CLE
 Learning and knowledge construction
 Thinking (creativity, criticality)
 But above all, benefits to the wider society and
the nation
 Economic benefits for the individuals and the
 Citizenship and national security
 International connections and global
Links between community language schools
and ‘mainstream’ schools
 Not a hierarchical relationship, but
 Not simply hiring premises and facilities
 What the ‘mainstream’ schools can learn and
benefit from community language schools
 Open Door Policy – to pupils, parents and
teachers, and to ‘other’ communities
Translanguaging perspective on CLE
 One of the key challenges of multilingualism in
the 21st century: how to protect the identity and
integrity of individual languages whilst
recognizing and promoting the fluidity of
diversity and contact.
 At the individual level, language learners/users
increasingly find themselves having to deal with
the question of how to express one’s cultural
values through a language, or languages, that
is/are traditionally associated with the
 These are what might be called the Post-
Multilingualism phenomena.
 The traditional approaches to multilingualism
where societies are encouraged to protect
and individuals are encourage to learn
different languages seem less than adequate
for the post-multilingualism challenges
 A new theoretical perspective on the post-
multilingualism challenge
 the dynamic process whereby multilingual
language users mediate complex social and
cognitive activities through strategic
employment of multiple semiotic resources
to act, to know and to be (Garcia and Li
Wei, 2014).
- The trans prefix emphasizes:
- the fluid practices that go beyond (transcend)
socially constructed language systems and
structures to engage diverse multiple meaningmaking systems and subjectivities
- the transformative capacity of translanguaging
practices not only for language systems, but also
individual’s cognition and social structures
- the transdisciplinary consequences of reconceptualizing language, language learning and
language use for linguistics, psychology,
sociology and education
The Translanguaging Perspective on
(Community Language) Education
 More than a pedagogical practice
 Focus on meaning making
multiple recourses
multiple modes
 Focus on transformation
knowledge construction
Education as a Translanguaging
 a space constituted by translanguaging and for
 a space for the multilingual user to bring together
different dimensions of their personal history,
experience, and environment, their attitude, belief and
ideology, their cognitive and physical capacity into one
coordinated and meaningful performance
 a space where subjectivities and ideologies are
constituted and re-constructed.
The Translanguaging approach aims to
- transcend conventional boundaries between
languages, and between language and other
cognitive and semiotic systems
- highlight the individual’s potential for
Creativity and Criticality (Claire Kramsch:
Symbolic Competence)
- transform our way of thinking of
multilingualism (and the Myth of
Monolingualism) and the divides between
multilingualism, multiculturalism,
multicompetence etc.
 CLE has a long, complex history in the UK, with
many achievements
 For CLE to meet the challenges of the 21st
century, it needs to develop a new global outlook
 Post-multilingualism is not about co-existence or
co-use of multiple languages.
 It is about the dilemma of protecting the identity
and integrity of different individual languages
whilst recognizing and promoting the fluidity of
diversity and contact.
 It is about finding ways of expressing one’s
cultural values and socio-political views
through a language or multiple languages
that are traditionally associated with the
 CLE needs to embrace Translanguaging,
rather than aiming to maintain ‘separate
 Language learners and users know what
they can/cannot do linguistically and make
full use of their multilingual and
multimodal resources (truncated, mobile,
as they may be) creatively to push
 In doing so, they show their socio-political
sense and sensitivities.
 Through Translanguaging, their
knowledge of the world, relationships with
others and their own subjectivities are
transformed as well.
 Thank you!

Multicompetence, creativity and codeswitching in the …