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Linguistics Seminar: Anna Mendoza

Event Type
Department of Linguistics
wifi event
Feb 10, 2022   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Helen Gent

Talk’s title: Teachers’ awareness and management of the social, cultural, and political indexicalities of translanguaging



Translanguaging scholars have debated whether dismantling boundaries between “named” languages is necessary for social justice in education (Cummins, 2021; García et al., 2021). This talk argues that the debate can be productively addressed by studying teachers’ awareness and management of the indexicalities (social, cultural, or political meanings) of classroom language practices. Our study used a survey as interview protocol to compare the extent to which four primary teachers in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Canada implemented two types of bi/multilingual practices from translanguaging scholarship with a recently taught class: dynamic translanguaging without regard for the boundaries between named languages and symbolic valuation of students’ home languages. We found that only sometimes do teachers describetrying to attach positive indexicalities to dynamic translanguaging or named languages, and onlysometimes are these indexicalities egalitarian—suggesting that learner empowerment comes from discursive positionings teachers create while marshalling multimodality, resources of language, or distinct languages to manage classroom identities.


Cummins, J. (2021). Translanguaging: A critical analysis of theoretical claims. In P. Juvonen and M. Källkvist (Eds.), Pedagogical translanguaging: Theoretical, methodological and empirical perspectives. Multilingual Matters.

García, O., Flores, N., Seltzer, K., Li Wei, Otheguy, R., & Rosa, J. (2021). Rejecting abyssal thinking in the language and education of racialized bilinguals: A manifesto. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies18(3), 203–228.

Note: Those who wish to familiarize themselves with this debate between leading translanguaging scholars can watch Jim Cummins’ plenary and the following panel discussion between Jim Cummins, Jasone Cenoz, Durk Gorter, Angel Lin, Nelson Flores, and Kate Seltzer: and

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