Autor: Oihana Leonet, Eider Saragueta and Eli. Arocena

Shifting the perception of languages and their status through the use of pedagogical translanguaging as a tool to increase language awareness

The objective of the study is to explore the possibilities of pedagogical translanguaging as a strategy to develop critical language awareness among a group of primary school students from the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain). The study is part of a broader ethnographically based research project, which was developed over two school years in Basque, Spanish and English language subjects. Participants were 51 primary school students studying through the medium of the minority language Basque in an area where the dominant language in society is Spanish, in addition, these students were learning English as a foreign language. The findings show how students’ critical language awareness is developed when sociolinguistically informed didactic strategies are integrated together with translanguaging pedagogies in the classroom. As a result of translanguaging pedagogies and the sociolinguistic reflection carried out during the intervention, the students built up their awareness of minority languages and affective attitudes towards their own. In turn, the simultaneous use of several languages in the classroom brought to the surface the unbalanced power relation among Basque, Spanish and English. This study’s findings reinforce the need for creating and maintaining spaces for minority languages to breathe within the framework of translanguaging pedagogies.