Unpacking the Benefits of Translanguaging
When we learn a new language, we aren’t aware of how it will impact our lives.
By learning a new language, or two, you’re adding more ways to express yourself and communicate with the world and the people around you.
That’s why we’ll talk about the benefits of translanguaging and how it can help you at home if you’re part of a multilingual family or live in a multiracial community.
Join us, and let’s learn about translanguaging!
You can also read: The Pros and Cons of Bilingual Education for Kids
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What Is Translanguaging?
Although there is no specific definition, Gwyn Lewis said translanguaging was first used in Wales in the 1980s.
The word indicates how bilingualism and multilingualism have developed in academia and how it has changed politics and society.
One of the first uses given to the word is to explain the phenomenon as something spontaneous that shapes the communication of bilingual or multilingual people.
Translanguaging is the phenomenon that shows us bilingualism or multilingualism from another perspective.
This theory tells us that by learning more than one language, we can communicate autonomously in different languages. Also, we can pick the most important characteristics of each language to adapt to different contexts.
Translanguaging is a way in which you can communicate with all your linguistic resources without following each language’s grammatical rules.
This phenomenon seeks to help multilingual people communicate better, regardless of whether or not they’re 100% fluent in the languages they have learned.
According to researchers Sara Vogel and Ofelia García, if we look at translanguaging from a sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic perspective, it can help us understand how bilingual people communicate and how they go from one language to another.
Translanguaging privileges bilingual exchanges instead of just monolinguistic ones, as it enables people to understand and communicate complex information.
So, we can say that translanguaging is more than using all languages we know to communicate. It’s a phenomenon that makes us forget the barriers between languages and open our minds to understand how everything is connected.
5 Benefits Translanguaging Has for Bilingual/Multilingual Families and Individuals
Using translanguaging at home can bring many benefits to your kids. Here are five that you can use to help them improve their language learning.
Translanguaging helps kids feel more comfortable and at ease.
It shows them that all their knowledge, background, and mother tongue are important to their education.
This will make them become more active and use both languages.
In other words, they’ll feel motivated!
During dinnertime, you can talk to your kids in their mother tongue and encourage them to use words from the language they’re learning to finish a thought.
Translanguaging pedagogies can potentially transform relationships between children, teachers, parents, and society.
This creates spaces where everyone learns from each other, as children have language skills that parents or teachers don’t have.
Think of it as a superpower!
You can pair your children with classmates who are on the same language level and have them exchange opinions and talk about things that matter to them. It doesn’t have to be too serious. Remember that they’re children.
This way, they’ll continue to learn and use all their languages more fluently.
Your children’s mother tongue is important to them. With it, they can learn a new language!
Yes, really! It’s a platform.
Let us explain.
Your kids can use the vocabulary and definitions of their first language to comprehend the structure of other languages, especially if they’re related. They can also infer the meaning of new words.
Try helping your kids do their homework with this technique in mind.
Ask them to explain a topic or task in the language they’re learning. Then you can discuss it with them and find more information using their first language. This will give them a deeper understanding and a meaningful learning experience.
Using translanguaging in the classroom —and in all settings— encourages multilingual interactions and collaborations between peers or people of the same age.
Children who are fluent in Spanish can be an excellent support for children who are learning it from scratch.
This helps children overcome obstacles.
You can use this idea at home. Try taking your kid to a place or event where people speak the language they’re learning.
It could be a sporting event or a concert. How about signing them up for salsa lessons?
Involving the people closest to your children in translanguaging will help them feel valued. This will also let them know they’re essential to their community.
And as for your children, it gives them more security, consistency, and positivity when learning a new language.
In a study conducted in Canada, researchers found that students who were part of communities versed in translanguaging were more aware of the similarities and differences between their mother tongue and the language they were learning.
The students who were part of a translanguaging group got better scores than those who were in the monolingual group.
So, you can talk to your kids’ cousins, uncles, and close friends to help them do the same things you do to help them, like the things we discussed in this article.
Also, let them know they can talk to you if needed and practice any language with you.
Transform Your Kid’s Language Learning With Translanguaging!
We’ve learned that this phenomenon, technique, or theory can significantly help your children learn languages and improve their social development.
It helps them become active members of society. With translanguaging, they can feel part of a culture that’s different from theirs.
Furthermore, this approach helps them take ownership of their own learning by breaking down barriers with the help of their peers and using creativity to bond with those around them.
We are sure you’re very inspired to help your kids to learn a new language, and we recommend starting with Spanish.
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