Sanctioning a space for translanguaging in the secondary English class: A case of a transnational youth
A growing number o f adolescents in the United States are transnationals who regularly engage in translanguaging practices by drawing on their full linguistic repertoires in their everyday lives. Many of these students are also emergent bilinguals, learning language and content simultaneously. Yet, as the number o f these diverse students significantly rises, so does curricular standardization in the secondary English language arts classroom. Even so, some research documents promising translanguaging pedagogies, but these studies focus primarily on the elementary level or provide general overviews o f these practices in secondary classrooms. Consequently, this qualitative study was divided into two phases: Phase 1 deeply investigated the nature o f one high school emergent bilingual’s transnationalism through a case study approach. The findings indicated that the participant’s transnational lived experiences and literacies were closely tied to translanguaging practices. Then, grounded in that data, for Phase 2 o f the study, the researchers used a formative design to create a literacy unit in the participant’s high school English classroom that purposefully engaged her transnational literacies through translanguaging. Her reaction to the unit, specifically her writing in English and Spanish, was analyzed to understand her response to the curriculum and instruction. A systematic use o f translanguaging— through reading, through oral language, and primarily through writing poetry— provided the participant with the means to express creativity and criticality as she took ownership o f her literacy learning. The study suggests the possibilities o f student learning when a space for translanguaging is sanctioned in the secondary English language arts classroom.
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