Translanguaging in the English classroom : A study examining young learners’ attitudes and perceptions of translanguaging in the English classroom.
Sammanfattning: Many studies show that language learners see the benefits of using their first language in order to learn second or subsequent languages, while they also see some disadvantages. This reflects dominant ideas in language learning about the importance of keeping languages separate. The present study examines translanguaging, a strategy in which learners are encouraged to use their entire linguistic repertoires during language learning. To this aim, data are examined from Swedish learners (n= 168) in grades 7-9 to investigate their attitudes and perceptions towards translanguaging in the EFL classroom, and to shed light on the roles of age and proficiency in constraining them. The data was collected by means of a questionnaire and a proficiency test in order to measure the participants’ proficiency in English. Unlike the mixed views reported in previous studies, the learners investigated here had a positive view of translanguaging and perceived it as beneficial to their learning. Furthermore, the findings suggest that learners often used Swedish for specific functions, especially explaining grammar and vocabulary, clarifying tasks and instructions, comparing the languages and asking questions. This was even more so for low proficiency learners, who used translanguaging more for both practical and social purposes. On the other hand, higher proficiency learners used less Swedish and viewed translanguaging as less helpful. These learners also reported that their teachers used more Swedish in the classroom compared with their less proficient peers. It was also found that learners showed a greater tendency to use translanguaging with increasing age, although this might have been due to differences between teachers and their individual practices.
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