Sustaining critical approaches to translanguaging in education: A contextual framework

Anna MENDOZA, Laura HAMMAN-ORTIZ, Zhongfeng TIAN, Shakina RAJENDRAM, Kevin W. H. TAI, Wing Yee Jenifer HO, Pramod Kumar SAH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Translanguaging remains a timely and important topic in bi/multilingual education. The most recent turn in translanguaging scholarship involves attention to translanguaging in context in response to critiques of translanguaging as a universally empowering educational practice. In this paper, seven early career translanguaging scholars propose a framework for researching translanguaging “in context,” drawing on the Douglas Fir Group's (2016) transdisciplinary framework for language acquisition. Examining translanguaging in context entails paying attention to who in a classroom wields power, as a result of their greater proficiency in societally valued languages, their more “standard” ways of speaking these languages, their greater familiarity with academic literacies valued at school, and/or their more “legitimate” forms of translanguaging. In our framework for researching translanguaging in context, we propose three principles. The first principle is obvious: (1) not to do so apolitically. The other two principles describe a synergy between ethnographic research and teacher-researcher collaborative research: (2) ethnographic research can assess macro-level language ideologies and enacted language hegemonies at the micro- and meso levels, and (3) teacher-researcher collaborations must create and sustain inclusive, equitable classroom social orders and alternative academic norms different from the ones documented to occur in context if left by chance. Copyright © 2023 The Authors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Early online dateJun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jun 2023


Mendoza, A., Hamman‐Ortiz, L., Tian, Z., Rajendram, S., Tai, K. W. H., Ho, W. Y. J., & Sah, P. K. (2023). Sustaining critical approaches to translanguaging in education: A contextual framework. TESOL Quarterly. Advance online publication.


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