My teaching is informed by translingual pedagogies, which shape my teacher identity and teaching practices.
My work with diverse student populations has led me to reflect on my own translingual dispositions, or “attitudes, values, and ideologies” (Canagarajah, 2012, p. 31). As a teacher, I value openness, creativity, empathic listening, and cosmopolitanism, and these dispositions empower me as a teacher and allow me to empower students in my courses.
My experiences teaching in diverse settings have helped me to develop an open minded attitude toward language difference. By accepting my own Appalachian upbringing, I have been able to reframe my relationship with my linguistic heritage to be more accepting of my own dialects and heritages. This allows me to be open to students’ dialects and heritages and to help students to marshal their linguistic resources. Further, using a disposition of creativity, I question language ideologies that privilege norms/form over function/practice. Communication is effective when it achieves the intended function, and I support language users’ diverse ways of practicing language. Translingual dispositions help me to be a flexible and adaptable communicator and teacher, capable of shaping my language practices to meet the demands of the situation. Further, my view of language as a functional practices empowers me to help students to use language to achieve their aims.
Translingual practices also emerge in my teaching as I use a detached and invested mindset when approaching students’ texts and providing feedback. My goal when I read student writing is to take the text at face value and allow the text or writer to surprise me. This perspective allows me to approach student texts with an attitude of negotiation rather than authority, helping me to act as an invested reader of their work.