Brazilian University English Professors' Translingual Orientations to Language: Complexities of a Developing Paradigm Shift

Blum, Avram. Brazilian University English Professors' Translingual Orientations to Language: Complexities of a Developing Paradigm Shift. University of Washington, 2018.
In this ethnographic research project, I explore beliefs of two Brazilian university English professors about language variation and language learning in response to developments in the digital age. Primarily through informal joint interviews (Coffee Breaks at the Café), classroom observations, and e-mail exchanges, I found that while both participants express the idea that their students are learning English in order to communicate with others who learned English as an additional language, one expresses the idea that she grounds her teaching approach in an idealized standard, while the other attempts to help his students develop communicative competence beyond such a standard. However, in their practice, I observed both position themselves empathetically to students’ learning process including: openness to code shifting, activities that encouraged negotiation of meaning, and emphasis on students’ developing their critical thinking skills and ideas over grammar norms. In my analysis, I frame my discussion through the lens of the translingual turn in Applied Linguistics and discuss my understanding of how any inconsistencies between their beliefs and actions may be related to the dominance of monolingual ideologies in Brazilian society and a history of language policies that elevate and materialize a prescriptivist approach, despite federal legislation that explains language as a social tool that is variable and creative.
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