Translanguaging in the English-Centric Classroom: A Communities of Practice Perspective
Pacheco, Mark Barba
This study explores the productive use of translanguaging in elementary classrooms where instruction is delivered primarily in English and teachers and students do not share proficiencies in students’ heritage languages. Using qualitative methods derived from ethnography of communication and discourse analysis, the study explores how one 2nd grade and one 3rd grade classroom incorporated various translanguaging pedagogies. From a communities of practice perspective, this study found that teachers with limited proficiencies in students’ heritage languages can leverage these languages to promote student achievement, but that teacher and student negotiation of how, when, and why these resources are leveraged is necessary. Overlapping aspects of learning communities—engagement, shared resources, and joint enterprises—informed the productive use of translanguaging pedagogies. Teacher perspectives on language use in their classrooms also played an important role in determining how these pedagogies were implemented. This work emphasizes the importance of classroom communities in shaping how language is used to negotiate meaning.