ORGANIC TRANSLANGUAGING IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS: PERCEPTIONS OF PRE-SERVICE PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS

Erasmos Charamba

Abstract


In spite of today’s science classrooms being linguistically diverse, languages are still kept separate during academic instruction with education policymakers and stakeholders emphasising language purism and a strict separation of languages in the classroom. The overarching aim of this article is to investigate science teachers’ perceptions regarding linguistic potential and language competence in relation to translanguaging strategies. The data presented consists of interview responses, lesson observations, and questionnaire responses from purposefully sampled 25 pre-service teachers at 6 different primary schools in South Africa. In analysing the data collected from the questionnaires, descriptive statistics were used to calculate the percentages of each Likert-type item in the questionnaire while qualitative data was analysed using structural coding. The present research findings corroborate previous research findings which affirm the pivotal role language plays in the science classroom and suggests teachers do away with ‘named languages’ through the use of students’ linguistic repertoire in the classroom. The study also shows how translanguaging assists science students and teachers in multilingual South African classrooms achieve voice and agency by challenging discourses otherwise framed in monolingual perspectives.  Given the academic and social benefits as well as the fluid nature of a translanguaging approach, the study also recommends teachers to implement translanguaging pedagogy in their linguistically diverse multilingual science classes.


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