ABSTRACT

This chapter presents the concept of translanguaging as an alternative for teachers to conceptualize the bilingual language practices of their students and explores what factors go into allowing teachers to use it as a pedagogical framework effectively. Translanguaging represents the diverse ways bilinguals communicate, make meaning, and construct identities, and frames these practices and processes in a positive or additive way (García & Li, 2014). In South Texas, the linguistic repertoires of Latino students include varieties of Spanish, English, and a combination of the two commonly referred to as Spanglish or TexMex (Sayer, 2013). Although the mixed vernacular and “non-standard” varieties of English and Spanish are commonly used by children and adults in interaction in bilingual communities throughout the area, in schools educators rarely see them as linguistic resources. Additionally, bilingual programs traditionally aim at keeping languages separate, often reinforcing a standard language ideology (Wiley, 1996); teachers feel compelled to attempt to “correct” features of the students’ bilingual/non-standard vernacular, such as codeswitching. Language separation approaches can misconstrue the students’ real home language, and devalue and stigmatize the language practices of bilingual communities.