Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Perspectives on translanguaging in school contexts in Sweden
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9024-330X
Stockholm University.
Stockholm University.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As a pedagogy, translanguaging affirms bilingual student identity; and as a theoretical concept, translanguaging facilitates the understanding of how bilinguals “construct deeper understandings and make sense of their bilingual worlds” (García, 2009:45). Previous research on translanguaging in the classroom has included studies of bilingual students entering a majority language context (e.g. García 2012, in the US), students studying an official minority language in an immersion context (e.g. Lewis 2008, in Wales), and students in complementary schools developing a minority language (e.g. Blackledge & Creese, 2010, in the UK).


This workshop explores translanguaging in three different multilingual educational settings in Sweden and relates them to previous research on translanguaging in bi/multilingual school contexts (e.g. Lewis 2008, García, 2012, Blackledge & Creese, 2010). The first two settings are in English medium programmes at primary and upper secondary schools, and the third is in subject support in L1 and L2 for recently arrived immigrant students.


The workshop includes four presentations and a discussion slot. Brief summaries follow below.


  1. Translanguaging: Affordance or constraint? The first presentation explores the practice of translanguaging in two upper secondary schools offering English-medium instruction. Language alternation in the schools is experienced as either an affordance or a constraint, depending on the views of the stakeholders. Translanguaging is seen as a constraint when the focus is on how much English used, rather than the function of each language. Viewed as an affordance, however, translanguaging resists language hierarchy, allowing for both Swedish and English to maintain a status as a language of learning.
  2. Translanguaging in English-medium instruction: A case study in a Swedish-English primary school 

The second presentation discusses how the use of both Swedish and English is used to scaffold students' understanding in subjects taught by an English-speaking teacher in Sweden. Classroom language practices and learner perspectives from observations and interviews with students are presented and analysed. Preliminary findings indicate that student-directed translanguaging and peer collaboration in the primary classroom provide a scaffold for emergent bilinguals learning English to access subject content taught through the target language.

  1. Translanguaging in subject support for newly arrived immigrant students

The third presentation examines how translanguaging is used to scaffold recently arrived students’ understanding of subject matter and the Swedish language, through “Subject Support in L1 and L2” (studiehandledning på modersmål). The ways in which Swedish and the mother tongue are used together in a maths lesson and in a writing unit in Swedish are presented and analysed. It is argued that use of both languages offers opportunities for development both of subject knowledge and multiliteracy.

  1. Translanguaging and language ideologies in Sweden

The fourth presentation explores the prerequisites for using translanguaging as pedagogy in Swedish school contexts by tracing the nature of the current language ideologies in Sweden. Starting from previous research and theoretical discussions in the paradigm of translanguaging (e.g. Garcia & Homonoff Woodley 2015, Leung & Street 2012, Hyltenstam & Milani 2012, Oakes 2001), the educational settings in the previous presentations of this workshop are scrutinized and discussed with consideration to issues of ideology and language policy.


Through these presentations, we hope to inform, inspire and create a space for discussion on translanguaging as both pedagogy and theory in the Swedish context and beyond, as well as to make visible the language resources that exist in the investigated contexts. Our presentations thus contribute both to the general field of educational research in Sweden as well as to the field of translanguaging as an object of study.



Blackledge, A. & Creese, A. (2010). Multilingualism. A critical perspective. London: Continuum.

García, O. (2009). Bilingual education in the 21st Century: A global perspective. Malden, MA and Oxford:


García, O. (2012). Theorizing translanguaging for educators. In C. Celic & K. Seltzer,

      Translanguaging: A CUNY-NYSIEB guide for educators, 1-6.

Garcia, O. & Homonoff Woodley, H. (2015). Bilingual Education. In B. Bigelow and J. Ennser-Kananen (ed.),      The Routledge Handbook of Educational Linguistics. New York: Routledge

      handbooks. 132–144.

Hyltenstam, K. & Milani, T.M. (2012). Flerspråkighetens sociopolitiska och sociokulturella ramar. In K. Hyltenstam, M. Axelsson and I. Lindberg (ed.), Flerspråkighet – en forskningsöversikt.

      Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet. 17–134.

Leung, C. & Street, B. (2012). English. A Changing Medium for Education. New Perspectives on Language and

      Education: 26. Bristol: Multilingual Matters/Channel View Publications.

Lewis, W. G. (2008). Current challenges in bilingual education in Wales. AILA Review, 21(1), 69-86.

Oakes, L. (2001). Language and National Identity: Comparing France and Sweden. Amsterdam: John




Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Educational Sciences General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Education and Learning
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-20641OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-20641DiVA: diva2:892226
Translanguaging: Practices, Skills and Pedagogy, Dalarna University, Falun, 20-22 April 2015
Available from: 2016-01-08 Created: 2016-01-08 Last updated: 2016-09-22Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Yoxsimer Paulsrud, BethAnne
By organisation
Educational SciencesGeneral Language Studies and Linguistics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Total: 621 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link