Paper delivered at the Development in Education in Asia Research Seminars 2022, Centre for Research in Education in Asia, University of Bath - 27th April 2022
Dr. Viniti Vaish, Associate Professor, National Institute of Education, Singapore
This paper applies the theories of linguistic distance and trans-languaging to analyse the pedagogy of teaching vocabulary and grammar in English to Malay-English bilinguals who are struggling to read in English. More specifically the paper explores how the teacher tried to create cross linguistic transfer and how the students display metalinguistic awareness while responding to the teacher’s trans-languaging stance, design and shifts. Transcripts from two classes of approximately half an hour each, in which the text being taught was The Big Hungry Bear, are analysed. The two classes are from the Learning Support Program, which is an early intervention program to support children who are struggling to read in English. The teacher looked for cues or junctures where she could create shifts and goes beyond merely translating to teach vocabulary. She made explicit connections between the grammar of Malay and English through a trans-languaging stance demonstrating a strong version of trans-languaging. The students adopted the teacher’s trans-languaging shifts to demonstrate learning of vocabulary and display metalinguistic awareness. The paper ends with reflections on combining the theories of linguistic distance and trans-languaging along with thoughts on the directionality of transfer between the languages of a bilingual.