English-plus or English-only: The Affordances and Constraints of Reading using Translanguaging among Chinese Students at a Private University


Private higher education plays a vital role in its transition to a knowledge society. However, it is also facing a challenge to mitigate the local tension between access, equity, and quality. Recently, translanguaging as pedagogy has emerged in an emancipatory manner for teachers in English medium instruction contexts, like the Chinese private university, where the students are not able to perform in English-only classrooms. However, although pedagogical translanguaging in English reading is acknowledged by bilingual educators, we have little knowledge about the students’ attitudes toward it. Students are the real actors of translanguaging practices. Their attitudes and stances are decisive to their further application of this translanguaging approach. The study aims to explore Chinese private university students’ attitudes toward pedagogical translanguaging as a classroom norm in an English reading classroom. The data were collected through two debriefing interviews before and after translanguaging as intervention. A thematic analysis of the affordances and constraints was carried out to examine their perceptions about translanguaging. The findings showed that translanguaging practices among Chinese private university students have not been completely independent of monolingual ideology. Yet their appreciation of translanguaging informed the possibility of fortifying translanguaging awareness and thus establishing an ecological and democratic translanguaging classroom

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