Academic journal article Research in the Teaching of English

Sanctioning a Space for Translanguaging in the Secondary English Classroom: A Case of a Transnational Youth

Academic journal article Research in the Teaching of English

Sanctioning a Space for Translanguaging in the Secondary English Classroom: A Case of a Transnational Youth

Article excerpt

Within the field of bilingual education, there is a growing movement to view students' multiple languages as resources (García & Sylvan, 2011; García & Wei, 2014; Ruiz, 1984). This paradigmatic change supplants decades of schooling in which bilingual youth were discouraged, shamed, and punished, sometimes even physically, for speaking their home languages in school (Arreguín-Anderson & Ruiz-Escalante, 2014; Guerra, 2012). In place of the traditional deficit perspective (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005) and past negative views of bilingualism in the United States (Baker, 2011), a new paradigm has emerged in which full biliteracy is valued and desired for students, particularly those who are in the dynamic process of acquiring English as a second language (Collier & Thomas, 2009).

Many bilingual education researchers are now considering how emergent bilinguals' (EBs')1 multiple languages interact with one another in the academic setting. Terms such as code-meshing (Canagarajah, 2006), code-switching (Guerra, 2012; Weinrich, 1953), code-mixing (Muysken, 2000), and more recently, translanguaging (Otheguy, García, & Reid, 2015) are being discussed in relation to pedagogy, particularly in the elementary classroom (Creese & Blackledge, 2010; Gort & Sembiante, 2015; Palmer, Martínez, Mateus, & Henderson, 2014; Sayer, 2013) or in extracurricular settings at the secondary level (Martin-Beltrán, 2014). Translanguaging, or drawing from all one's languages in order to make meaning, is considered a transformative practice teachers should understand and utilize with emergent bilinguals in an official manner within the classroom (García & Menken, 2015).

Although there is much progress in teaching the language arts to young bilingual children (e.g., Escamilla, 2013), EBs in secondary English language arts classes rarely have biliteracy development opportunities. Indeed, the majority of dual-language programs exist at the elementary level (García & Kleifgen, 2010; Howard, Sugarman, Christian, Lindholm-Leary, & Rogers, 2007). Additionally, increased standardization from No Child LeftBehind and now the Common Core State Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010) has marginalized bilingual students' multiple abilities in all grades (Luke, 2012), but especially at the secondary level (Enright, Torres-Torretti, & Carreón, 2012). High-stakes accountability is responsible for pushing many adolescent EBs out of high school (Menken, 2008) as curricular standardization increases (Diamond, 2007), causing greater restrictions in secondary classrooms (Enright & Gilliland, 2011; Gilbert, 2014). Various studies illustrate the negative effects of ignoring emergent bilingual adolescents' language, culture, and identity, and criticize such practices as detrimental to the students' success in school (Menken & Kleyn, 2009; Olsen, 2010; Valenzuela, 1999). In contrast, promising studies in the secondary English class give evidence that EB students experience academic success when their languages, cultures, and identities are valued and leveraged within the academic environment (e.g., Giouroukakis & Honigsfeld, 2010; Jacobs, 2008; Newman, 2012; Stewart, 2015).

Although the discussion of emergent bilinguals is often relegated to the fields of English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education, we must include these students in all areas of education, that is, the mainstream. According to the Migration Policy Insitute (2015), 25% of children in the U.S. under 18 had at least one foreign-born (immigrant) parent, and one in three children are predicted to have at least one immigrant parent by 2020 (Mather, 2009). As EBs become more commonplace in the mainstream classroom, the field of ELA must be prepared to leverage students' multiple literacies and lived experiences for academic success.

Consequently, García (2008) calls for a "multilingual awareness pedagogy" (MLAP) for all teachers, not just those with the official title of ESL or bilingual education: "In the twenty-first century, it is MLAP that all teachers need" (p. …

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