Translanguaging in a middle school science classroom: constructing scientific arguments in English and Spanish

Abstract

In this article, we investigate translanguaging in an English/Spanish dual language, urban, middle school science classroom as the teacher and students employ a scientific argumentation framework to address biodiversity socioscientific issues. Drawing from theories of sociocultural psychology and sociolinguistics, we considered how engaging in scientific practices was constructed through concerted activity by a bilingual teacher and her emergent bilingual students across English and Spanish language practices. Using ethnographically informed data collection in conjunction with discourse analysis, teacher translanguaging was examined for its related functions in the science classroom and how this pedagogical practice afforded opportunities for framing and supporting scientific argumentation. Results suggest that the functions of teacher translanguaging fell into three main categories: maintaining classroom culture, facilitating the academic task, and framing epistemic practices. Of the three categories of translanguaging, this paper focuses on how framing epistemic practices proved to be of paramount importance in the teacher presenting and supporting the suite of practices comprising scientific argumentation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Batalova, J., & McHugh, M. (2010). ELL information center fact sheet series. Migration Policy Institute, 2, 1–5.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Brown, B. A., & Spang, E. (2008). Double talk: Synthesizing everyday and science language in the classroom. Science Education,92, 708–732.

    Google Scholar 

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

    Google Scholar 

  4. Erickson, F. (1992). Ethnographic microanalysis of interaction. In M. D. LeCompte, W. L. Millroy, & J. Preissle (Eds.), The handbook of qualitative research in education (pp. 201–225). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Espinosa, C. M. (2016). Reclaiming bilingualism: Translanguaging in a science class. In: Translanguaging with multilingual students (pp. 174–192). Routledge.

  6. Evagorou, M., & Osborne, J. (2013). Exploring young students’ collaborative argumentation within a socioscientific issue. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,50(2), 209–237.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Flores, N., & Schissel, J. L. (2014). Dynamic bilingualism as the norm: Envisioning a heteroglossic approach to standards-based reform. Tesol Quarterly,48(3), 454–479.

    Google Scholar 

  8. García, O. (2009). Emergent Bilinguals and TESOL: What’s in a Name? Tesol Quarterly,43(2), 322–326.

    Google Scholar 

  9. García, O., Johnson, S. I., Seltzer, K., & Valdés, G. (2017). The translanguaging classroom: Leveraging student bilingualism for learning. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon.

    Google Scholar 

  10. García, O., Kleifgen, J. A., & Falchi, L. (2008). From English language learners to emergent bilinguals. Equity Matters: Research Review, 1, 1–61.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Glaser, B. G. (1965). The constant comparative method of qualitative analysis. Social Problems,12, 436–445.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Gumperz, J. (2001). Interactional sociolinguistics: A personal perspective. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 215–228). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Jiménez-Aleixandre, M. P., Bugallo Rodriguez, A., & Duschl, R. A. (2000). “Doing the lesson” or “Doing science”: Argument in high school genetics. Science Education,84, 757–792.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Kelly, G. J. (2014). Discourse practices in science learning and teaching. In N. G. Lederman & S. K. Abell (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (Vol. 2, pp. 321–336). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Kelly, G. J., & Chen, C. (1999). The sound of music: constructing science as sociocultural practices through oral and written discourse. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(8), 883–915.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Kelly, G. J., & Green, J. (1998). The social nature of knowing: Toward a sociocultural perspective on conceptual change and knowledge construction. In B. Guzzetti & C. Hynd (Eds.), Perspectives on conceptual change: Multiple ways to understand knowing and learning in a complex world (pp. 145–181). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Kelly, G. J., & Licona, P. (2018). Epistemic practices and science education. In M. Matthews (Ed.), History, philosophy and science teaching: New research perspectives (pp. 139–165). Dordrecht: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62616-1_5.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Kolstø, S. D. (2001). Scientific literacy for citizenship: Tools for dealing with the science dimension of controversial socioscientific issues. Science Education,85, 291–310.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Leach, J., & Scott, P. (2003). Individual and sociocultural views of learning in science education. Science & Education,12, 91–113.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Lee, O., & Fradd, S. H. (1998). Science for all, including students from non-English-language backgrounds. Educational Researcher,27(4), 12–21.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Lee, O., & Fradd, S. H. (2001). Instructional congruence to promote science learning and literacy development for linguistically diverse students. In D. R. Lavoie & M.-W. Roth (Eds.), Models for science teacher preparation: Bridging the gap between research and practice (pp. 109–126). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Lee, O., Quinn, H., & Valdés, G. (2013). Science and language for English language learners in relation to next generation science standards and with implications for common core standards for English language arts and mathematics. Educational Researcher,20(10), 1–11.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Lucas, T., & Villegas, A. M. (2013). Preparing linguistically responsive teachers: Laying the foundation in preservice teacher education. Theory Into Practice,52(2), 98–109.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Mazak, C. M., & Herbas-Donoso, C. (2014). Translanguaging practices and language ideologies in Puerto Rican university science education. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies,11(1), 27–49.

    Google Scholar 

  25. McNeill, K. L., & Krajcik, J. S. (2012). Supporting grade 5–8 students in constructing explanations in science: The claims, evidence, and reasoning framework for talk and writing. Pearson.

  26. McNeill, K. L., Lizotte, D. J., Krajcik, J., & Marx, R. W. (2006). Supporting students’ construction of scientific explanations by fading scaffolds in instructional materials. The Journal of the Learning Sciences,15(2), 153–191.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Moje, E. B., Ciechanowski, K. M., Kramer, K., Ellis, L., Carrillo, R., & Collazo, T. (2004). Working toward third space in content area literacy: An examination of everyday funds of knowledge and discourse. Reading Research Quarterly,39(1), 38–70.

    Google Scholar 

  28. National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K–12 science education: Practices, cross-cutting concepts and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Nielsen, J. A. (2013). Dialectical features of students’ argumentation: A critical review of argumentation studies in science education. Research in Science Education,43, 371–393.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Quinn, H., Lee, O., & Valdés, G. (2012). Language demands and opportunities in relation to Next Generation Science Standards for English language learners: What teachers need to know. Commissioned Papers on Language and Literacy Issues in the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards,94, 32.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Sadler, T. D. (2004). Informal reasoning regarding socioscientific issues: A critical review of research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,41(5), 513–536.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Sadler, T. D., & Zeidler, D. L. (2005). The significance of content knowledge for informal reasoning regarding socioscientific issues: applying genetics knowledge to genetic engineering issues. Science Education,89(1), 71–93.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Sampson, V., & Clark, D. B. (2008). Assessment of the ways students generate arguments in science education: Current perspectives and recommendations for future directions. Science Education,92, 447–472.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Santiago, D. A., Calderón, G. E., & Taylor, M. (2015). Factbook 2015: The condition of Latinos in education. Washington, DC: Excelencia in Education.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Spradley, J. P. (1980a). Participant observation. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Spradley, J. P. (1980b). Participant observation. New York: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Strauss, A. (1987). Qualitative analysis for social scientists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Toulmin, S. E. (2003). The uses of argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Warren, B., Ballenger, C., Ogonowski, M., Rosebery, A. S., & Hudicourt-Barnes, J. (2001). Rethinking diversity in learning science: The logic of everyday sense-making. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(5), 529–552.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Zeidler, D. L. (2014). Socioscientific issues as a curriculum emphasis: Theory, research, and practice. In N. G. Lederman & S. K. Abell (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (Vol. II, pp. 697–726). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Zeidler, D. L., Applebaum, S. M., & Sadler, T. D. (2011). Enacting a socioscientific issues classroom: Transformative transformations. In: Socio-scientific issues in the classroom (pp. 277–305). Springer.

  42. Zohar, A., & Nemet, F. (2002). Fostering students’ knowledge and argumentation skills through dilemmas in human genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,39(1), 35–62.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter R. Licona.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Lead Editor: Lyn Carter.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Licona, P.R., Kelly, G.J. Translanguaging in a middle school science classroom: constructing scientific arguments in English and Spanish. Cult Stud of Sci Educ 15, 485–510 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-019-09946-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Translanguaging
  • Emergent bilinguals
  • Scientific argumentation
  • Socioscientific issues
  • Discourse analysis