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Educational Research for Social Change

versión On-line ISSN 2221-4070


CHILDS, Margie. Reflecting on translanguaging in multilingual classrooms: Harnessing the power of poetry and photography. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2016, vol.5, n.1, pp.22-40. ISSN 2221-4070.

There is often a disconnect between the dominant language of the classroom and the home language of South African learners. Consequently, this may lead to dehumanising experiences in classrooms. This article explores the possibilities of using translanguaging to bring about humanising experiences for learners and teachers. Translanguaging is a means of providing planned and systematic use of the home language of learners with the language of the classroom in order to foster learning and teaching. A poetic inquiry is used to explore and make meaning of my understanding of what I observe in multilingual classroom contexts. Poetry and photography are used as data to support an argument for using translanguaging as a pedagogic tool to enable teaching and learning. Researcher-voiced poems (vox autobiographia) and literature-voiced poems (vox theoria) are employed to encapsulate understandings of the complexities and possibilities of teaching in multilingual classrooms. This inquiry reveals that translanguaging practices allow for fluid movement between the home and school language. Instead of being dehumanised by traditional language practices, teachers and learners are encouraged to bring their languages to the classroom. In so doing, they are able to experience being human as social, thinking, transforming, individuals participating with others in the world they inhabit together.

Palabras clave : humanising pedagogy; multilingual; translanguaging; poetic inquiry; deficit.

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