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One of the topics presented at the 2017 TESL Canada Conference in a couple sessions was Translanguaging. Translanguaging is the use of two different languages together, for example: English and Chinese. This growing pedagogy can go against what many classroom teachers and some EAL teachers wish for in their classrooms: mastery of the language in which they teach. However, Translanguaging has its benefits.

‘Translanguaging is the act performed by bilinguals of accessing different linguistic features or various modes of what are described as autonomous languages, in order to maximize communicative potential.’ Ofelia García (2009: 140)

As mentioned in the esljournal, ‘Translanguaging is about communication, not about language itself. There are times when we need to be language teachers, focusing on accuracy in English so that our learners can pass exams and be taken as proficient speakers in wider society. Much of the time, though, we are working with students to explore concepts, add to their knowledge, and make connections between ideas and to help them make their voices heard by others. This is often about communicating, and this is where using all our language resources can be very valuable.’

Students can gather information in their first language and share it with the groups or class in the target language (English). Please watch the YouTube video for a clear explanation. What is translanguaging, really?

The article What is translanguaging? appears in the July, 2016 online journal: eal_journal 


García, Ofelia (2009). Education, multilingualism and translanguaging in the 21st century. In: Ajit Mohanty, Minati Panda, Robert Phillipson and Tove Skutnabb-Kangas (eds). Multilingual Education for Social Justice: Globalising the local. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, pp. 128-145. 

(Click to see Chapter 8 Education, Multilingualism and Translanguaging in the 21st Century From the book Social Justice through Multilingual Educationby Ofelia García)


Shawna Jurgens


In June of 2021, SKTEAL and the University of Saskatchewan hosted an online webinar featuring Dr. Jim Cummins.  Cummins presented his research on translanguaging, which is an integrated communication system where multilingual speakers use their full language repertoire for learning. 

Click here to view a video that briefly explains translanguaging titled:  “Jim Cummins – Methodology in Language and translanguaging – Binogi”

Click here for a link to a webinar titled “Effective Education for Multilingual Students: The Central Roles of Translanguaging, Literacy Engagement, and Identity Negotiation”

Click here for another video by Cummins called: “Jim Cummins on language and identity”