Re-Examining Teacher Translanguaging: An Ecological Perspective

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Bilingual Research Journal


A growing body of recent scholarship has demonstrated that translanguaging is a natural and characteristic practice of bilinguals that also has great promise as a pedagogical tool. This ethnographic study examines the use of translanguaging by two teachers in a suburban high school ESL program. There, teacher translanguaging played an important role in increasing students’ participation and access to class content and yet did not achieve the interpersonal and emancipatory ends that have been reported elsewhere. Using an ecological approach, the author investigates this contradiction, mapping how teacher translanguaging fit in with other pedagogies, language policies, ideologies, and interpersonal relationships. The analysis suggests that the pedagogical and interpersonal potential of translanguaging may only be fully realized when connected to other practices in and beyond the classroom that affirm and support bilingualism and bilingual learners.

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