Translanguaging As Pedagogy and Practice Among Muslim Immigrant Students in Urban U.S. Classroom Settings: Toward Social Cohesion or Social Inequality?

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Brett BLAKE, St. John's University, USA
Many studies on literacy have revealed that children of U.S. Muslim immigrants engage in “translanguaging” through specific language practices due to the expectations and roles they assume in their family, school, and community as well as the fluid nature of bilingualism itself.

The literacy practices of children of Muslim immigrants are often hybridized and syncretized. In the U.K., research showed Muslim immigrant children engaged in literacy practices where different cultural forms interacted in the same space. The children blended the knowledge learned at school into knowledge practiced at home and in the community that were reflected through play, dialogue, artifact creation (writing, drawing) and the identities they assumed when given a choice to do so (Kenner, 2004; Gregory, 2000; Wallace, 2008). They also created further hybridity through the making of texts, which represented their complex cultures.

Other studies suggest that immigrant children engage in ‘glocal’ literacy practices, a description for the economic phenomena where people use local and global connections to adapt and adopt new literacies (Blake, 2004; Sarroub; 2008; Sirin & Fine, 2005) and “translanguaging,” a perspective that views language as a social resource without clear boundaries, and places the speaker at the heart of the transaction. These complex, mobile language repertoires help shape the identities of these children, particularly in a school setting. In addition, these immigrant children create opportunities for interconnectedness by intertwining local and global cultural, social and academic knowledge and experiences.

Examining actual pedagogy and practice in several urban U.S. classrooms where Muslim immigrant students engage in “translanguaging” show a greater sense of cohesion in identity formation linked to the fluidity of their language practices situated in a global urban youth culture.