Teachers’ Awareness and Management of the Social, Cultural, and Political Indexicalities of Translanguaging

Anna Mendoza, Jiaen Ou, Shakina Rajendram, Andrew Coombs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Translanguaging scholars have debated whether dismantling boundaries between “named” languages is necessary for social justice in education. To explore this issue, we examined teachers’ reported use of named languages or translanguaging in classroom activities. We used a survey as an interview protocol to compare the extent to which four primary teachers in different international settings implemented two types of bi/multilingual practices with a recently taught class: translanguaging to learn without regard for boundaries between named languages, and symbolic valuation of students’ (named) home languages and languages of affiliation. Using the sociolinguistic construct of “indexicality” as a lens of analysis, we found that only sometimes do teachers describe attaching positive indexicalities (social, cultural, or political meanings) to dynamic translanguaging or to named languages, and only sometimes are these indexicalities egalitarian—suggesting that the answer to the debate lies in positionings teachers create while marshalling translanguaging or named languages to manage classroom identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • bi/multilingualism
  • discourse analysis
  • learner identity
  • teacher expertise
  • translanguaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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