Reframing the Debate on Language Separation: Toward a Vision for Translanguaging Pedagogies in the Dual Language Classroom

Deborah K. Palmer, Ramón Antontio Martínez, Suzanne G. Mateus, Kathryn Lynn Henderson, Suzanne Garcia-Mateus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The policy of strict separation of languages for academic instruction dominates dual language bilingual education programming. This article explores the dynamic bilingual practices of two experienced bilingual teachers in a two-way dual language public school in Texas and contributes to current research problematizing language separation. Data included interviews, field notes, and classroom interaction video in a pre-kindergarten and a first grade classroom. The instructional practices of the two teachers suggested powerful strategies to promote bilingual identities. Drawing on identity theory, particularly the notions of positioning and investment, we attempt to contribute to recent research offering teachers potential translanguaging instructional strategies. These strategies include: (a) modeling dynamic bilingual language practices, (b) positioning students as bilingual (even before they are), and (c) celebrating and drawing attention to language crossing. In combining these strategies, teachers move toward using students' bilingual language practices as a resource for academic instruction.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalThe Modern Language Journal
StatePublished - Oct 7 2014


  • bilingual language acquisition
  • dual language education
  • emergent bilinguals
  • instructional strategies
  • translanguaging


  • Psychology
  • Linguistics
  • Curriculum and Instruction

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