Reviewed by: Council on Anthropology and Education
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Teaching
Secondary Theme: Inequality
What does translanguaging—the fluid movement between language forms and registers—share with art and play? As a former fourth grade teacher, I (a co-organizer of this roundtable session) used to draw the shades in my portable classroom when we took out art materials or played a game. These activities were forbidden as the school had a strict curriculum determined by subjects tested by the state. English language arts block before lunch and math block after lunch. Similarly, children from immigrant or non-standard language backgrounds found there was no place for their home language in the curriculum. Research and theory, however, point to the importance of sustaining (Paris & Alim, 2018) and expanding (Orellana, García-Sánchez, in review) languages and culture as well as the intrinsic value of art and of play in their own right, as well as the potential of children’s learning from art and play to transfer to other domains (Smith & Pellegrini, 2008; ArtsEdSearch, 2018).
The contributors to this panel examine curriculum that moves translanguaging, art (including creative writing), and play in from the margins. Beginning with the assumption that students from marginalized backgrounds bring rich resources to their learning in art and play—including language forms, creative expression, cultural knowledge, and more—the contributors examine these resources and the processes by which they are used by children in their collaboration with peers and teachers. The research presented in this roundtable draw on various methods, including teacher action research, ethnography, and microethnography; it takes place in a variety of childhood settings—after-school play, in-school poetry writing, a dance themed charter school, and a community arts program—and is situated in urban contexts in the Midwest and the West coast as well as near the southern border with Mexico. The pedagogy examined in these contexts seeks to celebrate, sustain, and expand children’s language(s), including African American English, and culture, by using their languages to accomplish creative, imaginative, and challenging projects, whether writing a poem, creating a dance, participating in imaginative play, or learning a new instrument. The roundtable discussion will also address what moving translanguaging, art, and play in from the margins means in terms of advancing a social justice agenda through culturally responsive curriculum.
ArtsEdSearch (2018). http://www.artsedsearch.org (ArtsEdSearch is a clearinghouse of research on arts education outcomes for students and educators.)
García Sánchez, I. & Faulstich Orellana, M. (In review). Everyday learning: Leveraging immigrant youth language and culture in schools.
Paris, D., & Alim, H. S. (Eds.). (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York: Teachers College Press.
Smith, P. K., & Pellegrini, A. (2008). Learning through play. Encyclopedia on early childhood development. In RE Tremblay, RG Barr, RDeV Peters (eds). Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.