From Purity to Plurilingualism: Shifting Views and Practices on Translanguaging in an Online Master’s Program

Thematic Section: Developing beliefs and practices of translanguaging in online spaces 

translanguaging, online, EFL, teacher education, United States, Kazakhstan

Bridget Goodman, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education

The purpose of this paper is to present action research on teaching theory about, and applying in practice, translanguaging communication and pedagogy in an online Master’s program. The focal program is a Master of Arts of Multilingual Education program in an English-medium university in Kazakhstan that has shifted to an online teaching mode. Kazakhstan is a country that is officially bilingual Kazakh-Russian, and aspires to have 15 percent of its population fluent in Kazakh, Russian, and English by 2020 (State Program for the Development and Functioning of Languages in Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020). It is also a country with both a tradition of mixing Kazakh and Russian languages—a practice referred to as “Shala-Kazakh” —and prevalent ideologies of keeping languages separate and pure in and out of the classroom (Abdrakhmanova, 2017; Tastanbek, 2019).

The presenter is a white American native English speaker with spoken Russian proficiency and additional languages in her repertoire who teaches a course for first-semester Master’s students on fundamentals of multilingual education, including a unit on translanguaging. The presenter collects data from: 1) online forum posts by students; 2) Zoom recording of synchronous discussion; and 3) diary reflections to indicate whether, before and after reading and discussion about translanguaging, student and teacher beliefs about and practices of translanguaging are hegemonic, resistant, or transformative (Goodman & Tastanbek, 2020). Special attention will be paid to the extent to which the online modality implicitly or explicitly shapes beliefs and practices.