Incorporating Australian primary students’ linguistic repertoire into teaching and learning

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Leveraging students’ languages as a resource for learning has been advocated in TESOL literature for the past three decades. This focus has recently been catalysed by a translanguaging perspective which challenges deficit understandings of the ‘English language learner’ and promotes the idea of a holistic linguistic repertoire (García, 2017). Confronting beliefs related to the institutional centrality of English in a country like Australia is an important step in leveraging students’ language resources at school. This chapter reports on research that aimed to encourage teachers in three linguistically diverse primary schools to draw on students’ repertoires in the classroom. Seven generalist teachers attended professional learning in which they worked to incorporate students’ language practices into their lessons. Data were collected from interviews, teachers’ group discussions, lesson plans, written reflections and students’ work samples. Thematic analysis evidenced a shift in teachers’ thinking of what it meant to be bi/multilingual. Further, the affirmation of linguistic identities was found to be less challenging for the teachers than the leveraging of students’ linguistic repertoire for specific learning objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvisioning Tesol Through a Translanguaging Lens
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Perspectives
EditorsZhongfeng Tian, Laila Aghai, Peter Sayer, Jamie L. Schissel
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030470319
ISBN (Print)9783030470302
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameEducational Linguistics
ISSN (Print)1572-0292
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1656


  • Australia
  • Language maintenance
  • Language-as-resource
  • Mainstream education
  • Primary
  • Professional learning

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