ESL classroom interactions in a translanguaging space

Sarah Hui-Ching Lin, Alex Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

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There has been a recent proliferation of studies pertaining to translanguaging. This impetus is largely driven by the increasing acknowledgement of daily communications as translingual practice. In fact, the closely related construct of plurilingualism has been incorporated into the development of the companion volume of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe. 2020. Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment – Companion volume. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. Available at: Despite the rising awareness towards translanguaging and plurilingualism in European and Northern American contexts (cf. Vallejo, Claudia & Melinda Dooly. 2020. Plurilingualism and translanguaging: Emergent approaches and shared concerns. Introduction to the special issue. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 23(1). 1–16), scepticism remains, especially in classroom settings. Through detailed analyses of extracts taken from 27 h of recordings of UK university ESL classroom interactions among Taiwanese L1 Mandarin students transcribed based on Jefferson (Jefferson, Gail. 2004. Glossary of transcript symbols with an introduction. In Gene Lerner (ed.), Conversation analysis: Studies from the first generation, 14–31. Philadelphia: John Benjamins) and supplemented by Matsumoto (Matsumoto, Yumi. 2019. Material moments: Teacher and student use of materials in multilingual writing classroom interactions. The Modern Language Journal 103(1). 179–204) and Zhu et al. (Zhu, Hua, Wei Li & Agnieszka Lyons. 2017b. Polish shop(ping) as translanguaging space. Social Semiotics 27(4). 411–433), we aim to demonstrate the complementarity effect of various multimodal resources in progressing classroom instructions. Our analyses reveal that the different linguistic and non-linguistic resources deployed contribute to scaffolding and the development of a layered understanding of the concept in discussion (e.g. phrasal verbs). We argue that the translanguaging space enables students to engage in deeper learning. Students are empowered to break down the rigid power structure and actively participate in knowledge co-construction. We end our paper by calling for research that bridges current understanding of translanguaging and policy and assessment strategies development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalApplied Linguistics Review
Early online date14 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sept 2023

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