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Classroom language ecologies and Chinese community schooling

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sara Ganassin

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Abstract

In this paper I draw on data from a 14 month in-the-field doctoral study to illustrate how two Chinese community schools in the UK represent multilingual educational settings where pupils, teachers and parents bring a diversity of language resources. This multilingual reality contrasts with the monolingual educational macro-order (manifested in policies and ideological orientation). I undertake an ecological approach, which focuses on the multilayered nature of classroom interaction, to explore how translanguaging is performed by pupils and teachers, both as pedagogic strategy and as resource for identity performance. The literature defines how language community schools are not only educational, but also a socio-political context where language policies and choices are ideologically charged. In promoting an agenda focused on Mandarin language and Chinese culture, the two schools in this study advocated the exclusive use of Mandarin in the classrooms, both as a pedagogic strategy and as an ideological choice to promote a sense of Chinese identity in the pupils. However, my findings demonstrate in the classroom language ecologies Chinese and English were not compartimentalised, but used in connection to one another. Pupils and teachers moved across languages drawing on translanguaging as multilingual competence. On the one hand, they used language to engage with the lesson (e.g. to explain and accomplish tasks). On the other hand, language impacted on their identity positions (e.g. pupils developing or challenging relationships with peers and teachers). Through these findings I show how such positions challenged the monolingual focus of the schools and the ideologies underlying it. The findings also demonstrate how pupils and teachers co-construct through language learning alternative identities where Chinese and English are used to negotiate meanings. Thus, this paper addresses the point listed in the call concerning translanguaging, acknowledging the role and value of translanguaging practices in the context of community language education.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Ganassin S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: IALIC 2016 Bridging across languages and cultures in everyday lives: new roles for changing scenarios

Year of Conference: 2016

Online publication date: 25/11/2016

Acceptance date: 14/07/2016

URL: http://ialic.international/


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