I have just read the book “New Perspectives on Translanguaging and Education”, edited by BethAnne Paulsrud, Jenny Rosén, Boglárka Straszer and Åsa Wedin (Multilingual Matters – Bilingual Education and Bilingualism: 108, 2017). This book is absolutely fascinating and I would highly recommend it to any person who is working with bilingual children whether in a crèche, a primary school, a secondary school or any other educational groups and/or associations welcoming bilinguals. It gives a new light on translanguaging with examples from the English-speaking world and Scandinavian countries mostly. Those can be applied anywhere.
Divided in 13 chapters, plus an epilogue, this book explains the advantages of learning and teaching using translanguaging, mostly in local situations where the monolingual model is very important. Each chapter, written by various lecturer, researchers and university Professors, looks deeply into the experiences of different level of education, different systems and different countries. We get a really in-depth view of how translanguaging can work to help the learners use all their language abilities. It is quite interesting to see how language and languaging are being described and use. Languaging being the ability to use all the manner you have to express yourself, whereas languages are seen as different tools, as a resource to language yourself.
Translanguaging is seen as a new way to challenge the monolingual educational systems. For example, Jenny Rosén looks at translanguaging in the Swedish education policy where, even if the country is having a minority speaking Sami, the Swedish language is still prominent in the curriculum and teachers are like soldiers following the “orders” they are given. In another chapter, Latisha Mary and Andrea S. Young are studying how translanguaging helps the young migrant or bilingual children to enter pre-school in monolingual country. Children feels then safe. Translanguaging creates a social space for those children to feel confident. The teacher is then acknowledging the children’s linguistic knowledge and skills. It is contrary to immersion.
Many teachers do not have training on how to support children who speak other languages and the translanguaging method allows them to bridge between the distance which could be there in terms of languaging. Kirsten Rosiers sees translanguaging as a scaffold among teachers and pupils. The many examples she gives in her chapter are really helping to understand her views. Anna Slotte and Maria Ahlholm are looking at the role of translanguaging to acquire concepts. As a pedagogy, translanguaging is opening new doors, and we should look at language ecologies to be able to use it better. Translanguaging is not putting hierarchy on languages, looking at languaging rather than languages. It is a great tool.
It is difficult for me to summarise every single chapter as it would really be too long of a review.
I warmly recommend to any person who has bilingual children or children using another language at home to read this book. It is an eye opener, with many ideas, examples and concepts.