Teacher Agency in Creating a Translingual Space in Nepal’s Multilingual English-Medium Schools

Phyak, Prem; Sah, Pramod K; Ghimire, Nani Babu and Lama, Anju (2022). Teacher Agency in Creating a Translingual Space in Nepal’s Multilingual English-Medium Schools. RELC Journal, 53(2) pp. 431–451.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/00336882221113950

Abstract

This paper focuses on teacher agency in creating a ‘translanguaging space’ in Nepal’s multilingual public schools. Drawing on the ethnographic data from two public schools, we discuss how teachers can resist a monolingual ideology of an English as a medium of instruction policy to ensure students’ participation in classroom activities. The findings of the study reveal that teachers create a translanguaging space to counter the official English-only monolingual ideology and draw on students’ home languages to address their learning needs and their own pedagogic challenges. By using students’ home languages in teaching both the content and English language subjects, the teachers in this study demonstrate a transformative agency to create a multilingual classroom space where students feel safe to use their existing language abilities and epistemologies in learning process. The findings of the study imply that policymakers need to build on teachers’ multilingual agency and their critical ideological awareness to develop pedagogical approaches that recognize students’ diverse linguistic identities and learning needs.

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