Reconceptualizing “Home” and “School” Language: Taking a Critical Translingual Approach in the English Classroom

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This article adds to the growing body of literature that calls for shifts in teachers’ and researchers’ stance and practice toward a re-seeing and re-hearing of students for their linguistic assets and expertise. By taking up the theory of translanguaging (García, 2009; García & Li Wei, 2014) to understand students’ language practices, I trouble the labels and terms so often assigned to language minoritized students, particularly those that fall into the larger categories of “home” and “school” language. To do this, I draw on data collected during a yearlong ethnographic study of an 11th-grade English language arts classroom in New York City. This study took up what I term a critical translingual approach (Seltzer, 2019), engaging language minoritized students—bilingual students as well as those students traditionally viewed as monolingual—in metalinguistic conversations, literacy activities, and writing that delved into the role language played in their identities and lived experiences. By centering students’ talk and writing about their own languages, this article serves as a call to educators and researchers to relinquish conceptualizations of “standard” or “native” language and to embrace those that foster students’ critical integration of new features into their existing linguistic repertoires.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-1007
Number of pages22
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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