The Deliverance of Bilingual Education: Translanguaging

Educating Children in a Sheltered Environment


Sheltered instruction is an approach to teaching English language learners which integrates language and content instruction. The dual goals of sheltered instruction are:

  1. to provide access to mainstream, grade-level content, and
  2. to promote the development of English language proficiency.

Sheltered Instruction, also referred to as Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), is a teaching style founded on the concept of providing meaningful instruction in the content areas (social studies, math, science) for transitioning Limited English Proficient (LEP) students towards higher academic achievement while they reach English fluency.

This method type is often used in mainstream secondary classrooms where the students have a foundation of English education. A variety of instruction is used including the theories of Vygotsky's proximal development and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. Instead of providing watered down curriculum for LEP student, sheltered instruction allows for the content to be equal to that of native English speakers while improving their grasp of the language.

The teacher provides varied methods of instruction that allow students to create meaning of multifaceted content in classroom discussion, activities, reading and writing. Teachers call on a number of different instruction methods such as the use of socialization practices, and the multiple intelligences to allow the content to be more accessible.

The differences between ESL instruction and the use of sheltered instruction or SDAIE is that sheltered instruction does not focus entirely on language development; instead, through various other topics in the curriculum, English proficiency is achieved.

Originally the intent of sheltered instruction was for students with a relatively strong grasp of the English language but lacking in writing and reading abilities. Since then the need for proficient teachers capable of sheltered instruction has increased.

The ESL certified teachers and programs have decreased due to new legislation, but the number of LEP students is rising causing teachers to build upon their abilities to take on the linguistically diverse classroom.

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Facing The Future....

Let us establish three areas which we can conceptualize as meeting the future needs of children who are in need of learning English as they begin their adventure through the U.S. public school system:
By: Jenni Vinson

1. It does not matter what their first language is. We are no longer concerned with just the Hispanic population of learners. We will expand the tent to include immigrants from all parts of the globe-- and their languages

2. We must prepare an educational system for the parents, explaining to them the process their children will have to undergo in order to competently assimilate English. We do not want the children to lose their first language (in a  subtractive, negative effort to impose an "English Only" mentality on the child). We will provide a "sheltered environment in which the child can comfortably learn English.

3. We will respect each child as they maneuver through their individual process of arriving at English competency. We will no longer mock the idea that a child who slips in and out of his/her first and second language is a sign of incompetency, but now will adopt the notion of higher level intelligence which allows the child the ability to "translanguage".


Why Translanguaging Is the Future!

By: Jenni Vinson

Monolingual academics in the field of education have argued and established that Bilingualism is an academic deficiency. They warn parents against promoting bilingualism among their children for fear of stunting their academic growth. Immigrants who arrive at the doorsteps of U.S. public schools have been ushered into the Special Education programs and there confined for an indefinite amount of years. Bilingual students have been stamped as remedial, deficient and even thought of as lost causes by some who claim that by the time some students get here, it is too late to ever catch them up. Bilingual educators have been hesitant to raise their voices against such injustices.

Code switching was defined as a lapse of recalling a word in English that caused the speaker to lapse back to his/her first language. Code switching was "an idiot" moment. There is shame attached to this moment and this concept for the student who utilizes code switching in an attempt to communicate.

Dr. Ofelia Garcia demands that we leave behind the wall of negative connotation that has been erected around the concept of Bilingual Education and that we begin by taking back the linguistic database that comprises Bilingual Education and establishing definitions that match the reality of the Bilingual learner. Dr. Garcia begins the process of dismantling this imposed wall by offering, in the place of code switching, the idea of Translanguaging, a process in which two or more people who have comfort in the languages being spoken are  able to interface and maneuver through a intermingling of languages without alienating any member of the group.

Translanguaging now becomes the process by which a human brain is capable of accessing two or more linguistic data bases in order to formulate a tapestry of words in various languages (all bound by the rules of English grammar) in the formation of a thought. Translanguaging is to Linguistics what a key change in the middle of a symphony is to music. Both convey a mastery of critical thinking and by no means is there a deficiency exhibited.

I would propose that within the creation of the wall against Bilingualism, code switching stands as the cornerstone of proof that Bilingual learners exhibit  language  deficiency. I vehemently argue that Dr. Ofelia Garcia's renovation and reformation of this notion removes the cornerstone of this ominous, obstinate wall and topples it down.

Dr. Ofelia Garcia offers academics and proponents of Bilingual/ Dual language programs a historical opportunity to step over the rubble of this unjust wall she toppled and begin the process of building bridges to the future with a promise of better success.

Indian Boy Speaking Multiple Languages

He taught himself to be multi-linguistic in order to sell his peacock feather fans to tourists who come to India from all over the world. He is an amazing example of how Translanguaging is housed within the mind and can be readily accessed.


Translanguaging With Victoria

I am calling my daughter, Victoria Vinson to tell her she is invited to her aunt and uncle's anniversary/re-dedication of vows ceremony. She speaks all of the languages I spoke to her in: Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese.



1. Meeting Global Needs and Meeting the Concept of "Equitable" Education

Crese, A., & Blackledge, A. (2010). Translanguaging in the bilingual classroom: A pedagogy for learning and teaching? Modern Language Journal, 94 (1), 103-115.

"CUMMINS (2008) DEFINED BILINGUAL Education as “the use of two (or more) languages of
instruction at some point in a student’s school career” (p. xii). Garc─▒a, Skutnabb-Kangas, and
Torres-Guzman (2006) referred to multilingual schools that “exert educational effort that takes
into account and builds further on the diversity of languages and literacy practices that children
and youth bring to school” (p. 14). This means going beyond acceptance or tolerance of children’s
languages, to “cultivation” of languages through their use for teaching and learning. Cummins referred
to research (August & Shanahan, 2006; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders, & Christian, 2006) that demonstrates that considerable confidence  can be placed in the positive outcomes of bilingual education". (Creese 2010).


Garcia, O. (2009). Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. New York: Blackwell/Wiley.

"Bilingual education has long been a controversial topic for communities, policy-makers, and teachers. Misconceptions about what bilingualism itself is, and what bilingual education should do, have laid the groundwork for a wide range of policies, not always with a coherent vision for their students. In this wide-ranging and provocative book, Garcia examines the history and current state of bilingual education programs throughout the world, offers a critical reading of the current conversations around them, and invites readers to imagine a new paradigm for the twenty-first century; one based on the idea of multilingual fluidity as a social and cultural imperative in a globalized world." "Garcia examines languages and bilingualism as individual and societal phenomena, presents program types, variables, and policies in bilingual education, and concludes by looking at practices, especially pedagogies and assessments. Questioning assumptions regarding language, bilingualism, and bilingual education, this book proposes a now theoretical framework and alternative view of teaching and assessment practices."--Jacket.


Colors of The Wind (28 languages)


Impressing upon the parents the value of allowing their children to maintain the heritage language as they move into the acquisition of English

Johnson, R.K. & Swain, M. (1997.)  Immersion education: International perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Immersion programs are the fastest growing2 and most effective type of foreign language program currently available in U.S. schools. Most immersion students can be expected to reach higher levels of second language proficiency than students in other school-based language programs (Met, 1998). Becoming bilingual opens the door to communication with more people in more places, and many parents want to provide their children with skills to interact competently in an increasingly interdependent world community.
In addition to reaping the social and economic advantages of bilingualism, immersion learners benefit cognitively, exhibiting greater nonverbal problem-solving abilities and more flexible thinking (see reviews in Met, 1998). It has been suggested that the very processes learners need to use to make sense of the teacher’s meaning make them pay closer attention and think harder. These processes, in turn, appear to have a positive effect on cognitive development. However, a high level of second language proficiency is needed in order to experience the positive cognitive benefits that come with bilingualism (Cummins, 1981). From the standpoint of academic achievement, over three decades of studies consistently show that immersion students achieve as well as or better than non-immersion peers on standardized measures of verbal and mathematics skills administered in English (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000; Genesee, 1987).


English to Chinese

Texas A&M University Bilingual EducationDoctoral student, Candace Hsu, narrates English to Chinese:

Part one: Part two:




Garcia, O. (2009). Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. New York: Blackwell/Wiley.

"Regardless of how children come to be bilingual or multilingual, children throughout the world commonly engage in bilingual languishing or what i have termed elsewhere, translanguaging.

Translanguaging is the act performed by bilinguals of accessing different features of various modes of what are described as autonomous languages, in order to maximize communicative potential. It is an approach to bilingualism that is centered, not on languages as has often been the case, but on the practices of bilinguals in order to make sense of their multilingual worlds. Therefore, translanguaging goes beyond what has been termed codeswitching, although it includes it. For me, the concept extends what Gutierrez and others have called 'hybrid language use, that is a systemic, strategic, affiliative, and sense making process' (Gutierrez, Baquedano-Lopez and Alvarez (2001: 128), which is important for all bilinguals in multilingual contexts." (Garcia 2009)


David Lopez and Maria Haase

David Lopez and Maria Haase Translanguage  (English/Spanish) about whether to attend the Kingsville High school Football game or the Texas A&M University Kingsville Bonfire in a freestyle, unscripted dialogue. We attended--BOTH.