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The Power of Our Bilingual Voices : Translanguaging with Middle School English Language Learners

  • Author(s): Moreno, Valine
  • et al.
Abstract

The Power of Our Bilingual Voices : Translanguaging with Middle School English Language Learners is a curriculum designed to facilitate a learning environment allowing students to use and build upon their entire language repertoires. The model that was used was based on integrating translanguaging, a common language practice of bilingual and multilingual individuals who frequently use more than one language in a sentence or a conversation. I used translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy by providing copies of the novel, The Giver by Lowis Lowry (1993) in English and Spanish to each student. In addition I encouraged students to respond in English and Spanish to demonstrate their understanding of the content. The Power of Our Bilingual Voices : Translanguaging with Middle School English Language Learners was implemented in a sixth through eighth grade English Language development classroom. The activities in the curriculum are designed to allow students to use Spanish as well as English to more accurately communicate their understanding of the content. The majority of the students used English and Spanish to actively participate in whole group discussions. Some students also used both languages in writing. I found that students became more accurate and reflective from the beginning of implementation to the end of implementation according to interview results, field notes and student work samples. In addition, I found that students referenced their English and Spanish novels differently based on the type of question asked. This curriculum revealed ways activities can be shaped to build upon students' strengths so they can utilize the linguistic resources they bring to class. In addition, students became more reflective about their use of language when discussing with whom and why they used English and Spanish. Rather than limiting students to reading and responding only in their second language, allowing students to use both languages gave them more opportunities to express their understanding of the content

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