Enabling translanguaging in the French language classroom: Bridging the gap between multilingual perspectives and multilingual practice

2018-05-05T04:47:56Z (GMT) by Charbonneau, Noella Weinmann, Michiko

In this paper, the authors report on a national online survey on multilingual perspectives and practices of teachers of French in Australia. The survey's objective was to comprehensively capture how teachers of French understand the teaching and learning of languages in general, and of French in particular, which is a widely taught and well supported language in Australian schools. Another aim of the study was to gain insight into what perceptions, beliefs, and values in regards to languages, languages education and effective pedagogy underpinned these understandings.

The study revealed several tensions between the language teachers' beliefs and practice. While the majority of the survey participants expressed strong support for innovative pedagogies such as translanguaging (Garcia & Wei, 2014), and keen motivation to engage the full multilingual repertoire of the learner, a closer reading of the data indicated that most of them felt restricted in their practice by “the normative terms and conditions of an understanding of languages and languages education that remains rooted in parochial, monolingual and pecuniary perspectives" (Weinmann & Arber, 2017: 173). In particular, the findings indicate that (self) perceptions of ‘non-native' language teachers as ‘culturally deficient' continue to frame the notion of what constitutes a ‘good' language teacher and quality language teaching (Holliday, 2015).

The authors argue that reconceptualising the normative terms and conditions of languages and languages teachers beyond national, linguistic and cultural boundaries is key to reorientating approaches to languages education. For teachers to feel more confident and better equipped to effectively implement translanguaging pedagogies in their practice, teachers' perceptions of their own multilingual identities and how these are shaped within the systems they work in (Young, 2017) need to be better understood.

References:

García, O., & Wei, L. (2014). Translanguaging and Education. In Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education (pp. 63-77). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Holliday, A. (2015). Native-speakerism: taking the concept forward and achieving cultural belief. In (En) Countering Native-speakerism (pp. 11-25). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Weinmann, M., & Arber, R. (2017). Orientating multilingualism: navigating languages teacher identities. Curriculum Perspectives, 37(2), 173-179.

Young, A. S. (2017). " Non, moi je lui dis pas en turc, ou en portugais, ou en, j'sais pas moi en arabe": exploring teacher ideologies in multilingual/cultural preschool contexts in France. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 10(2), 11-24.