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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The L2 Journal is an open access, fully refereed, interdisciplinary journal which aims to promote the research and the practice of language learning and teaching. It publishes articles in English on all aspects of applied linguistics broadly conceived, i.e., second language acquisition, second language pedagogy, bilingualism and multilingualism, language and technology, curriculum development and teacher training, testing and evaluation.

Untitled Issue


Creating Social Justice Instructional Templates: Frameworks, Process, and Lessons Learned

Although social justice and related critical pedagogies are rapidly growing areas of interest in language education, instructional materials for use across languages and levels and published as free and adaptable Open Educational Resources (OERs) are lacking. The purpose of this article is to describe the frameworks, process, and lessons learned related to the creation of three instructional planning templates that support social justice in language education and scaffold implementation of multiliteracies and social justice pedagogies. After defining social justice, the article summarizes the frameworks that inform the instructional templates, describes the process of creating, piloting, and revising the templates, and identifies the affordances and constraints discovered through this process.

‘Teaching English as service’ in Spanish language programs: A Translanguaging approach


In the context of Spanish language programs, service-learning provides authentic experiences to use the target language while working with the Latino community. However, in many cases the language competencies needed to work in the community do not always involve an exclusive use of the target language. This is the case of service-learning programs in which students teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults or children. This study presents a ‘translanguaging pedagogy’ in which tutoring sessions are planned around the use of both languages to teach and learn. Using a Critical Language Awareness pedagogy academic content covered in the course examines the language experiences of adult ESL immigrants through. This study advocates framing target language use in service-learning as a “communicative performance” with the aim of shifting notions of monolingual language practices and integrate new conceptions about real-life communicative practices in service-learning.

Equity, Access, and Inclusion in K-12 World Language Education: A System of Failure or Work in Progress?

This qualitative study examined world language (WL) educators’ perceptions of equity in WL education. Using a sociocultural framework that emphasized the relationship between structures and agency, the analysis revealed that WL educators perceived key equity issues to include: a lack of access to WL study related to students’ race, socioeconomic status, and disability; world language teacher shortages; and a lack of culturally relevant, engaging curriculum. The participants described ways that they drew on their agency to effect change through professional development, curricular redesign, advocating for multilingual families, and engaging in efforts to overhaul policy and other institutional structures. The discussion and implications illuminate a need for a more systemic response to issues of WL access, equity, and inclusion that will require collaboration and action by educators, stakeholders, policymakers, and professional organizations.

Translanguaging In Applied Linguistics: A Comprehensive Systematic Review

This article presents a comprehensive and systematic review of empirical studies on translanguaging in the field of applied linguistics, covering the period between 2008 and 2022. The review focuses on the characteristics of the studies, including the contexts and educational stages in which they were conducted, and the linguistic diversity of the participants. The review also examines the research methodologies and conceptual frameworks utilized by the studies. The major findings of the review reveal that translanguaging practices were employed for educational, social, and sociopolitical purposes. The article concludes with a critical discussion of the findings, recommendations for future research, and limitations of the review.

Language and Integration of Refugee Children: Reflections on Delinking and Decoloniality

In this contribution we illustrate and discuss the decolonial approach adopted in a research project exploring the potential of including in education a language spoken by children and families from refugee backgrounds. The international project team from Palestine and the UK collaboratively designed a bespoke Levantine Arabic language course for beginners tailored to the needs identified by primary school staff, Arabic speaking pupils from refugee backgrounds, and their parents/carers. The course was offered to primary school staff in Scotland, enabling them to offer “linguistic hospitality” (Phipps, 2012) to Arabic speaking pupils and families. By delinking common assumptions and norms about language teaching/learning, the project strived to change the terms and the content of the conversation, unlocking possibilities for thinking and doing otherwise (Mignolo, 2007, 2018). In particular, the study questioned: who should be learning a language in an educational context; the teaching of the standard version of a language; expectations of expertise in educational settings; and the knowledge flow in international research with partners in Global South countries.

Theorizing Transnational Language Teacher (Educator) Identities: An Autoethnographic Study of a Border Dweller

This autoethnographic narrative inquiry explores the lived experiences and identities of a transnational English language teacher (educator). The aim of this research was to gain insight into my own transnationality, in order both to better inform my beliefs and practices as an educator, and to highlight the value of exploring transnationality as an important dimension in language teacher identity (LTI) construction. Drawing on autobiographical writing and art work as data sources, constant comparison and line-by-line analysis were employed to identify themes in the data, which were synthesized with relevant literature to further make sense of and theorize (my) transnational LTIs. Featuring theme-focused experiences from my life, findings are organized in a past-present-future structure, looking back at how my past identities can inform my present identities, and how these past and present identities are informing my future imagined identities. Major insights gained from this research into transnational LTI include: (a) social categorization, whether conferring high or low status, is a form of objectification, closely linked to the concept of (un)desire; (b) viewing emotions as signals of sites of growth can help to free us from emotional overwhelm; and (c) identifying and acknowledging our strengths can emancipate us from unjust power dynamics and empower others to do the same. Implications for language teacher education are discussed.

Teachers' Forum

Returning to the Classroom: an Autoethnography

The following is an autoethnographic description of my participation, as a late-career French professor, in a summer language immersion class in Spain. My initial intention was to improve my Spanish and to assess how I responded to communicative pedagogy. I soon realized, however, that it was more intriguing to explore my L3 and professional identities, as well as the affective consequences of my experience.

Tuning Learners to Linguistic Diversity using the “Your Words” Activity

The “Your Words” activity invites students to explore how they vary the ways that they communicate in their various speech communities (Morgan, 2014; Rampton, 2020). Students may consider their speech communities in only general terms, such as “I am a speaker of English and Cantonese because I am a resident of Hong Kong.” Or “I am from Miami, so I speak English and Spanish at home. Or “I like to skateboard, and I share some jargon with my skate mates that I don’t use in other situations.” To help them reflect more deeply on communities for which they may not have names, the “Your Words” activity invites them to reflect on and share a word or phrase that they only use in specific social groups that form part of their lives. The discussion that follows encourages students to consider how they modify the way they communicate as they move through the different speech communities that are part of their daily lives. The activity is useful for raising awareness of speech communities before introducing discussions about language attitudes and beliefs that can help prepare pre-service teachers for working with students whose linguistic and cultural diversity is unfamiliar to them.

Brief Reports

Does Collaborative Prewriting Discussion Always Help?

Collaborative prewriting discussion (CPD) is one of the most popular activities in L2 writing classes. With the CPD task, students can discuss their writing plan with each other before they start to write. As a language teacher, however, I ask myself: does CPD always help? In fact, without providing instructions, EFL students typically talk about their ideas when they are asked to discuss, and they seldom provide feedback and discuss the organization of ideas on one another, which results in a meaningless discussion (Huang et al., 2021; Li et al., 2020; McDonough et al., 2018; Neumann & McDonough, 2015; Tatiana, 2021). Considering this important issue, I conducted a small project and I will share what I found from the two discussions and hope that these explorations will bring some valuable information about the CPD task to writing teachers teaching in similar EFL or ESL contexts.

Language as power: Translanguaging’s interaction with Chinese international students’ English academic writing processes outside the classroom

International students in the US face challenges in navigating university-level academic writing, particularly if English is not their first language. To succeed in their coursework, they must demonstrate mastery of course content, academic English, and writing conventions, while also balancing their native writing habits. Facing these difficulties, international students employ different resources (i.e., repertoires) to facilitate their writing. Understanding challenges international students face as well as resources they employ allows instructors to better support this population.This study examines the academic writing experiences of Chinese university-level international students through the lens of translanguaging in order to identify these repertoires and explore how students use them. The research question is: how does translanguaging interact with Chinese international students’ academic writing outside the traditional classroom setting? Through in-depth interviews with seven multilingual Chinese international students, this study reveals that Chinese international students may feel disadvantaged in the American education system because they cannot fully showcase their mastery of course content in their second language, English. Translanguaging is a tool that can help alleviate this disadvantage, and participants in this study used it automatically. However, they kept this process in their mind, separate from the policed zone of written text due to internalized English-only policies.