Translanguaging instinct: What does doodling have to do with language learning? (by Dr Sunny Man Chu Lau)

Recently I invited Dr. Marsha Liaw, Educational Director of a Chinese-English bilingual program in Massachusetts, to give a talk to my graduate class on pluriliteracies and trans-semiotization. We both share an understanding of language and literacy from a heteroglossic perspective (Blackledge & Creese, 2014) which highlights not only the interconnections between languages but also their interdependence with other semiotic systems, underscoring the inherent multimodal nature of any human communication. All semiotic modes, be they written-linguistic or visual, graphic, audio or spatial, are intricately connected as sense-making devices and resources (Cope & Kalantzis, 2013). This expanded view of language and literacy is core to translanguaging (Li, 2017) and/or pluriliteracies practices, allowing us to understand the complex indexicalities of varied semiolinguistic resources that complement and/or juxtapose each other to give rise to new, enriched meanings (Kress et al. 2005). The paradigmatic shift also helps disrupt the traditional deficit-oriented view of second language (L2) or plurilingual individuals, repositioning them as agentive actors in their constant, active mixing and meshing of semiolinguistic resources to transfer, construct, recontextualize and re-semiotize different ways of knowing, being and acting (García, Bartlett, & Kleifgen, 2009) for different social purposes.

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