Translanguaging, TexMex, and Bilingual Pedagogy: Emergent Bilinguals Learning Through the Vernacular

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Abstract

This article presents an ethnographic study of how bilingual teachers and children use their home language, TexMex, to mediate academic content and standard languages. From the premise that TESOL educators can benefit from a fuller understanding of students' linguistic repertoires, the study describes language practices in a second-grade classroom in a transitional bilingual education program in a well-established Mexican American community in San Antonio, Texas. The data suggest that the participants move fluidly between not just Spanish and English, but also the standard and vernacular varieties, a movement that is called translanguaging (O. García, 2009). Translanguaging through TexMex enables the teacher and students to create discursive spaces that allow them to engage with the social meanings in school from their position as bilingual Latinos. The teacher's adoption of a flexible bilingual pedagogy (Creese & Blackledge, 2010) allows for translanguaging in the classroom not only as a way of making sense of content and learning language, but also as a legitimized means of performing desired identities.

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