Teachers’ Beliefs about Translanguaging: Effects of Language Skills and Instructional Settings

Bruce Torff, Audrey Figueroa Murphy


Experimental research was conducted to examine teachers’ beliefs about classroom activities involving translanguaging, a pedagogical practice in which students use both their home language and second language to communicate, learn academic content, and develop oral and literacy skills in both languages. Teachers (n = 249) completed a survey to rate the effectiveness of translanguaging in general and specifically for students who vary in L1 and L2 proficiency (in this research, Spanish and English). Participants were randomly assigned to respond concerning one of four instructional settings: Bilingual Education (BE), Dual Language (DL), General Education (GE), and English as a Second Language (ESL). In general, translanguaging was viewed as more effective when students’ Spanish skills are strong, although strong English skills also were seen to make it more effective to a lesser extent. Teachers rated translanguaging as generally more effective in DL and BE, likely because these settings explicitly leverage students’ home-language skills. Classroom practices based on these beliefs may exacerbate achievement gaps between high- and low-proficiency populations, by directing the richness of the home language and culture disproportionately to high-proficiency students. Teacher-education practices are needed emphasizing translanguaging for all students regardless of home-language proficiency.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/wjer.v8n1p107


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