TRANSLANGUAGING AS AN EMERGENT PRACTICE AND PEDAGOGY AT MULTICULTURAL AND MULTILINGUAL UNIVERSITIES

  • The authors:
    Maria O. Guzikova
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 95-102
  • Section: INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND MIGRATION
  • URL: http://conference-ifl.rudn.ru/95-102/
  • DOI:
    10.22363/09669-2019-95-102

Abstract. The global mobility has reached the stage that sociologist S.
Vertovec called ‘super-diversity’. World universities striving to
internationalize become sites with an increased cultural and linguistic
complexity. Such universities are spaces where a complex multilayered
social interaction between people with different cultural context takes place.
There, as sociolinguists N. Flores and M. Lewis argue, forms of mixed
multilingualism emerge. Universities engage with this super-diverse
environment differently. Some universities acknowledge and integrate
forms of a flexible multilingualism such as trans- and polylanguaging into
their policies and practices. Other universities observe shifts in language use
without reflecting upon them. The objective of this paper is to study how
accidental practices of translanguaging, which emerge in multilingual
classrooms, as compared with deliberately introduced pedagogy of
translanguaging, effect students’ motivation and their belonging to learning.
As M. Kalantzis and B. Cope put it, belonging is the most important
condition for learning. To learn meaningfully, students have to feel that a
certain type of learning is for them, that learning content is in their zone of
proximal development, and that the learning space is comfortable.
Researchers, who support translanguaging practices as pedagogy for
multilingual education, argue that their use increases students’ sense of
belonging to learning by affecting their identities. This study suggests that
deliberate practice of translanguaging increases students’ sense of
belonging, yet its emerging use may result in demotivation for learning.
Observation of translanguaging practices took place at Roskilde University
(RUC) in Denmark and at Ural Federal University (UrFU) in Russia. The
main data for this study are the opinions of local lecturers and local and
international students of the two universities expressed and recorded during
semi-structured interviews. At RUC, translanguaging is the pedagogy used
in the Language Profiles Program, and at UrFU it is used occasionally
during English-medium classes of the Russian Area Studies Master’s
Degree course. Both programs under investigation are not part of the
language education. The RUC program is a supplementary class for
undergraduate students of humanities and social sciences. It aims at
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DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-95-102
developing cultural and language skills of Danish students who studied
other foreign languages along with English at school. Often, international
students join the program as well. The students taking the Language Profiles
program develop bridge-building skills, since the bridge-building
competence is mentioned in the RUC strategy of internationalization.
Translanguaging is used as the course methodology, which aims at
developing students’ interactional and social goals. At UrFU,
translanguaging emerges spontaneously when students initiate its use during
in-group discussions. The teacher switches between Russian and English, as
she thinks that this is the way to facilitate learning for the students with
insufficient command of English. Students react to the use of
translanguaging differently: in the case where there was no formal
introduction of translnaguaging, some were in favour of it, while others
were not. On the other hand, when translanguaging was systematic and the
part of pedagogy, students responded affirmatively. Students recognized
that translanguaging as a method of learning contributed to their personal
and cultural transformation and the development of their bridge-building
competence. Translanguaging research argues that it facilitates learning and
affects students’ identities in a positive way. This study reveals that
emergent translanguaging might be discouraging. On the other hand, if
translanguaging is a part of learning design, it increases students’ belonging
to learning and maximizes their communicative potential. In the academic
super-diverse spaces it is important to recognize that mixed multilinguality
is prone to emerge. Universities’ policies and teaching approaches need to
consider these emergent polylanguaging in order to increase students’
motivation and to create linguistically inclusive educational settings.
Keywords: translanguaging as an emergent practice, translanguaging as
pedagogy, multicultural and multilingual university

Maria O. Guzikova
Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia,
e-mail: m.o.guzikova@urfu.ru

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