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Developing Educator Expertise to Work with Adolescent English Learners

Module 4 – Multilingualism in the United States and Around the World: Current Issues and Tensions: A Focus on the Conversation with
Ofelia García

By Haiwen Chu

OVERVIEW    |    INTRODUCTION    |    PART 1    |     PART 2    |    PART 3    |    REFERENCES

Part 2: Translanguaging in the Everyday Language Practice of Bilinguals

Activity 2.1: Personal Reflection and Pair Discussion

Participants will: reflect on the design of second-language learning.

Duration: Approximately 15 minutes.


  • Individually, write a response to the following prompt:

    • Reflect on when you learned a world language   in a classroom setting. What were the typical activities you were engaged in? How did these activities support your development of oracy and literacy in the world language?

  • With a partner, share your ideas and responses to the prompt.

  • Look back at Module 3, Activity 1.5, which is about different designs and theories undergirding the teaching of English as a Second Language. With your partner, reflect on the following question: Where do the experiences that you and your partner shared with regard to learning a world language seem to fall?

    • Audio-lingual methods

    • Cognitive methods

    • Communicative methods

    • Sociocultural/ecological methods


Activity 2.2: Viewing with a Focus: Understanding Different Conceptions of Bilingualism

Participants will: compare and contrast additive and dynamic conceptualizations of bilingualism.

Duration: 12 minutes of viewing followed by 15 minutes of in-person discussion.

Video: A Study Group on the Potential of Dynamic Bilingualism Translanguaging in Bilingual Education Part 1 (Ofelia García, 14:55).

As part of the City University of New York’s New York State Initiative for Emergent Bilinguals, Ofelia García made a presentation on additive and dynamic bilingualism. As you watch the presentation, please take notes using the graphic organizer below. Although subtractive bilingualism is also mentioned, please focus as you take notes on the differences between additive and dynamic bilingualism.

What is the theory of languages?

What is the theory of language learning?

What is the theory of language learner?

What are some of the practical implications of this stance?


Additive Bilingualism

Dynamic Bilingualism


  • Participants watch and take notes on the proposed segment of the video (14:55–26:25), using the notetaker to consider key differences between additive and dynamic approaches to bilingualism.

  • In small groups, participants share their ideas with each other to reach shared understandings about the two approaches.

  • In the small group, revisit your individual reflection from the previous activity (2.1) about learning world languages. Do those experiences reflect more of an additive or dynamic conceptualization of second language learning? Discuss what might be more productive for the learner.

Activity 2.3: Reading with a Focus: A Multilingual High School for Immigrant Students

Participants will: engage in reflection of how some traditional tasks can be converted into highly interactive, generative tasks.

Duration: Approximately 15 minutes of discussion (following approximately 15 minutes of individual reading).

Text: Profile of International High School (pp. 12–15).

Ofelia García and colleagues developed case studies of secondary schools that reflect a different approach to bilingualism in education. In the article Extending Bilingualism in United States Secondary Schools: New Variations, it may be helpful to review the notions of additive and dynamic bilingualism as framed in the introduction to the article. To then ground practice in a multilingual setting, read the case study of the International High School at LaGuardia Community College offered in the article (pp. 12–15). As you read, consider the following question: To what extent do the practices of bilingual and multilingual students reflect different stances toward bilingualism more broadly speaking?


  • Read the case study of the International High School, and take notes with regard to the bilingual and multilingual practices present at the school.

  • Discuss in a small group: What are the conditions that enable students and teachers at the International High School to engage in such language practices?

Activity 2.4: Viewing with a Focus: Multilingualism in the United States and World: Current Issues and Tensions

Participants will: view (on their own outside of class) a video conversation related to multilingualism and education, then will discuss the video in small groups.

Duration: Approximately 1 hour.

Video: Multilingualism in the United States and World: Current Issues and Tensions.

“Bilingual education cannot be just for language. It has to be for children.”—Kuhn, as quoted by Ofelia García


Watch Ofelia’s conversation with Aída Walqui with the following focus:

  • What are different ways to understanding the idea of “translanguaging”?

  • How does the notion of translanguaging emanate from both theory and practice?

  • What are the pedagogical consequences of teachers taking a translanguaging stance?


  • Review the questions before watching the video.

  • Watch the video on your own, taking notes on the questions listed above. You may also find it helpful to review the transcript of the discussion.

  • Back in class, working in a group of four, share your responses to each of the questions, attempting to reach a consensus for each of the questions.


    We follow prevailing practice in referring to languages other than English when they are learned in school settings as “world languages” in acknowledgment of the role they play in global society.

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