An exploratory study of translanguaging practices in an online beginners' foreign language classroom

Adinolfi, Lina and Astruc, Lluïsa (2017). An exploratory study of translanguaging practices in an online beginners' foreign language classroom. Language Learning in Higher Education. Journal of the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS), 7(1) pp. 185–204.



Translanguaging, the movement between communicative modes and features of different languages, is becoming an established research tradition in content-focused second language learning contexts. Pedagogic translanguaging practices nevertheless remain under-applied and under-researched in foreign language instructional settings, whether face-to-face or online. Synchronous virtual foreign language classrooms represent particularly rich spaces in which to begin to explore such practices, due to their multimodal affordances on the one hand and their technical constraints on the other. This study examines the pedagogic translanguaging practices that occur in a corpus of beginner-level Spanish online group tutorial data. A macro-level analysis of the interactional patterns that occur within this context reveals that both teacher participants follow closely the pedagogic prescriptions provided by the course designers with regard to the activities they employ. The finding that these activities offer limited opportunities for students to move between communicative modes and languages may be attributed in part to the emphasis on spoken interaction in this particular setting. A complementary micro-level analysis nevertheless reveals a more autonomous and intuitive approach to the teachers' choice of language when mediating such activities. Instances of student code-switching are relatively few, however. The study concludes with a call to course designers and practitioners to experiment with integrating a wide range of pedagogic translanguaging opportunities into online foreign language classroom activities, with a view to enhancing teaching, learning and communication in such environments.

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