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Linguistic xenophobia and why it should be resisted

Blog Editor, IOE Digital18 July 2016

by the TLANG team.
Like many around the country, the Translating and Translanguaging team have been shocked by the upsurge of xenophobia and racist hate crime which the police believe have been triggered by the BREXIT vote. The outcome of the vote seems to have been interpreted by some as permission to hate, or rather to express that hatred through abuse and violence. As part of the TLANG Project we are working with the East European Advice Centre, housed in the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) building in Hammersmith, London. As widely reported in the media, POSK came under racist attack with graffiti smeared over its front door the day after the EU Referendum.
Aspects of the BREXIT campaign, designed to raise fear and anxiety over migration, have encouraged this response, as has the campaign of disinformation on migration conducted by some sectors of the press. As concerned citizens we join with others in deploring this (more…)

Learning together: crossing the language barrier with bilingual pupils

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 September 2015

Li Wei
“What do I do when all my pupils speak different languages that I don’t understand myself, even though I speak several languages already?” This is a question I was once asked by an experienced teacher who was getting ready for a trip to Sierra Leone as a volunteer teacher. She taught history and geography in an inner London school and spoke English, fluent French, and had a good knowledge of German and Spanish. We talked about the possibilities of having many different languages and dialects amongst the children she would be teaching, and the purpose and objective of her trip. She concluded that the only feasible way was to allow the children to use whatever language or dialect they felt most comfortable in and to ‘co-construct’ knowledge with her. So rather than teaching them directly, she would learn as much from the pupils as they would from her. They would be learning together.
This is the idea behind ‘Translanguaging’, a dynamic process of knowledge building and meaning making that employs (more…)