Building on the Translanguaging Practices of Emergent Bilinguals

The Educational Linguist

Below is the text-version of a short article that I wrote for Penn GSE Research into Practice. Click hereto see the full web version.

Educational linguists have developed a theory of bilingualism that has significant implications for teaching emergent bilingual students. The centerpiece of this perspective is that bilingualism is no longer viewed as a mastery of two discrete languages but instead as the ability to strategically and continuously weave in and out of languages depending on the context and audience—a skill linguists call translanguaging.

Penn GSE professor Nelson Flores has been exploring the implications of translanguaging for educating emergent bilinguals. Based on his research, he recommends that teachers of emergent bilinguals embrace the following practices that build on these students’ translanguaging practices:

[1] Acknowledge and respect the translanguaging practices of emergent bilinguals: A common misconception is that a language gap exists between children from affluent monolingual households and…

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