Translanguaging as pedagogy: developing learner scientific discursive practices in a bilingual middle school science classroom

Paolo Infante, Minnesota State University
Peter R. Licona, Elizabethtown College


This article investigates translanguaging as pedagogy in an English/Spanish dual language middle school science classroom as teacher and students engage in scientific argumentation about issues of biodiversity. Drawing from literature on bilingual education, bilingualism, linguistically responsive teaching, and scientific argumentation, we consider how the translanguaging practices of a middle school science teacher afforded emergent bilingual students access to the discourse intensive scientific practices being foregrounded in a science education reform-based curriculum intervention. Using ethnographically informed data collection in conjunction with discourse analysis, teacher translanguaging is examined for its potential in framing and supporting student access to the practice of scientific argumentation. Results suggest translanguaging as pedagogy functioned as a linguistically responsive approach that afforded emergent bilinguals access to the scientific practices and content of the curriculum intervention. Implications for bilingual education and science education are discussed.