31 SES 09 A, Multilingual School Development with Translanguaging in a European Context
This paper presents findings from a longitudinal, multinational and EU-funded ROMtels research project (https://research.ncl.ac.uk/romtels/). The focus of the project was specifically on Roma communities, and on parents’ and teachers’ collaboration. The project explored questions such as how to create teaching-and-learning environments that are characterised by mutual understanding and respect and that counteract pervasive deficit views of plurilingual pupils? How to bridge gaps between school pupils’ linguistic, racial, cultural backgrounds and those of teachers and professional bodies, at the time when meritocratic and neoliberal policy context in Europe privileges conformity and standardisation? This presentation draws on sociocultural and postcolonial perspectives, particularly on Vygotsky (1978) and Said (1994). Critical race theory (Gilborn, 2008) provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between racism and assumptions of language deficit and nationalism. By drawing on interpretative methodologies and by emphasising social contexts and pupils’ and their families’ linguistic 'funds of knowledge' (Moll et al, 1992; Rodriquez, 2013), we prioritise and validate home languages as a valuable resource for learning the school’s language alongside school subjects, and for the development of home-school partnerships. This can also lead to a positive, energising impact on the development of family languages. Schools can act as spaces for social cohesion, and for many pupils this can lead to the recovery of their multiple identities and their languages. The examples of data presented in this presentation come from England and France. In an English primary school teachers created learning enquiries for pupils that involved innovative technologies, such as a smart table, videos and projectors to create a virtual reality-like space. Learning enquiries were introduced by animated characters whose speech was translated into East Slovak Romani and Ursari Roma dialects by children’s parents. Children's participation in the enquiries was video recorded and the videos were subsequently translated into English by the parents working with the translator. In France parents and pupils collaborated in a visit to a museum, and include a video-recorded interview and schools’ feedback about parents’ involvement. Our translanguaging approach (García and Wei, 2014) facilitates a dynamic process in which Roma parents and pupils mediate complex social and cognitive activities. Teachers' pedagogical knowledge and parents' and pupils' linguistic knowledge were synthesised and this led to a shift: the power-dynamics of school-family relationships were altered and the overall process included some transformative moments for parents, pupils and teachers.
García, O. and Wei, L. (2014) Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Gillborn, D. (2008) Racism and Education, coincidence or conspiracy? London: Routledge. Moll, L., Amanti, C., Neff, D. and Gonzalez, N. (1992) Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms. Theory Into Practice. Vol. XXXI, No. 2, Spring, pp, 132-141. Rodriguez, G. M. (2013) Power and Agency in Education: Exploring the Pedagogical Dimensions of Funds of Knowledge. Review of Research in Education. Vol. 37, pp. 87-120. Said, E. W. (1994) Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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