Tower of Babel or Garden of Eden? Teaching English as a Foreign Language through a Translanguaging Lens

Mirjam Günther -van der Meij*, Joana Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    This chapter discusses the use of translanguaging pedagogy for learning English with young learners (kindergarten and elementary school level) in the context of the officially bilingual Province of Friesland, the Netherlands (with Dutch and the regional minority language Frisian). First, a holistic model for multilingualism in education (Duarte, 2017 (Meer Kansen Met Meertaligheid) NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands; 2017) and its relation to teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) is presented. The model places pedagogical practices along a continuum, oscillating between the acknowledgement of languages and their full use in education. Then examples of multilingual activities for TESOL – combining a translanguaging approach with several multilingual approaches such as language awareness and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodologies – will be discussed, drawn from two research projects set in the Province of Friesland. Exemplary transcripts from English classrooms will also be presented and discussed in which we focus on the role of translanguaging in interaction, distinguishing three types of functions: symbolic, scaffolding and epistemological. The chapter ends with a reflection on the extent to which translanguaging within the context of TESOL in primary education causes a Tower of Babel or is perceived by schools to be a Garden of Eden.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnvisioning TESOL though a translanguaging lens
    Subtitle of host publicationGlobal perspectives
    EditorsZhongfeng Tian, Laila Aghai, Peter Sayer, Jamie Schissel
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-47031-9
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-47030-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Publication series

    NameEducational Linguistics

    Cite this