Enabling Translanguaging in the French Language Classroom: Bridging the Gap Between Mutlilingual Perspectives and Multilingual Practice

  • Michiko Weinmann Deakin University
  • Noella Charbonneau Deakin University

Abstract

Recent studies in multilingual and translanguaging pedagogies have shifted the focus from investigating how students engage their multilingual repertoires to exploring how teachers understand and implement these pedagogical directions in their practice. In this article, the authors report on a national online survey on the multilingual perspectives and practices of teachers of French in Australia. The overall goal of the survey discussed here was to comprehensively capture how teachers of French understand the teaching and learning of languages in general, and of French in particular. The study revealed several tensions between the language teachers’ beliefs and practice. While most of the survey participants expressed strong support for innovative pedagogies such as translanguaging (García & Wei, 2014), and keen motivation to engage the full multilingual repertoire of their learners, a closer reading of the data indicated that most of them felt restricted in their practice by “the normative terms and conditions of an understanding of languages education that remains rooted in parochial, monolingual and pecuniary perspectives” (Weinmann & Arber, 2017, p. 173). In particular, the findings indicate that (self-)perceptions of “non-native” language teachers as “culturally deficient” continue to frame the notion of what constitutes a “good” language teacher (Holliday, 2015). For teachers to feel more confident and better equipped to effectively implement translanguaging pedagogies in their practice, teachers’ perceptions of their own multilingual identities and how these are shaped within the systems they work in (Young, 2017) need to be better understood.

Keywords: Languages teaching, languages education, translanguaging, native language teacher, non-native language teacher, linguistic repertoire, multilingualism, Australia

Published
2020-01-16