A Pedagogy of Translingual Communication in Tiszavasvári, Hungary

Our Project is awarded by SozialMarie  (prize for social innovation). We received the award on 1st May 2018 in Vienna. Thank you!



Our research team, located in Hungary at the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in the Department of Hungarian Linguistics, undertakes a multi-sited ethnolinguistic research in Tiszavasvári, in the north-eastern part of Hungary, among members of a group identified in local discourses as Vlah Roma. From the school year 2016/2017 we have observed classes at the Tiszavasvári Elementary School of the Magiszter Foundation, where most children from the community in question are taught. We also conduct interviews and participant observation in the community.

In Autumn 2017, the collaborative Translanguaging Workshop of Tiszavasvári was created jointly by our department and the headmaster, teachers, and members of staff at the school. Theories of translanguaging (García 2009) emphasize the linguistic repertoire and a holistic approach to communication (Gorter-Cenoz 2017) instead of the description of several languages, varieties, and code-switching between them. The major thrust of translanguaging research is to describe how speakers use the linguistic resources available to them in their social interactions. Building on approaches which focus on the relationship between translanguaging and linguistic practices in schools (García-Kleyn 2016, García et al 2017, Paulsrud et al 2017), our project explores the possibilities of integrating children’s Romani-language resources in a Hungarian-monolingual primary school setting and curriculum. Our approach challenges the tradition which associates school with monolingual and standardized ways of speaking. In the experimental pedagogical framework we have designed, ways of speaking associated with the children’s home are brought into the school setting as integrated parts of classes in a variety of subjects, regardless of the fact that these subjects are traditionally delivered only in the standardised form of any languages. This approach, therefore, provides the feeling of homeliness and continuity in a setting away from home, which leads to a greater sense of safety on the part of the children, and allows for a more layered and varied form of communication.

Gorter, Durk – Cenoz, Jasone 2017. Language education policy and multilingual assessment. In: Language and Education 31. 231-248.

García, Ofelia 2009. Education, Multilingualism and Translanguaging in the 21. Century. In: Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove et al. (ed.): Social Justice through Multilingual Education. Multilingual Matters, Cromwell. 140-158.

Paulsrud, BethAnne – Rosén, Jenny – Straszer, Boglárka – Wedin, Åsa 2017. New Perspectives on Translanguaging and Education. Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 108. Multilingual Matters, Bristol.

García, Ofelia – Kleyn, Tatyana 2016. Translanguaging with Multilingual Students: Learning

García, Ofelia – Johnson, Susana Ibarra – Seltzer, Kate 2017. The translanguaging Classroom. Leveraging Students Bilingualism for Learning. Caslon, Philadelphia.