Recommended Event – Translanguaging in pedagogy: Multilingual realities in migrant language education – James Simpson, 9 May

Speaker: Dr James Simpson, University of Leeds

Date/Time: Tuesday 9th May 2017 at 2:00-3:30pm

Venue: Room 1.20, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, 35 Berkeley Square, BS8 1JA.


Multilingual people in migration contexts typically translanguage as a matter of course, drawing upon a multilingual repertoire as appropriate for a particular situation. The main, or dominant, language of the country is part of that repertoire, but might not always be the most important language needed in social or work life. At the same time, in national policy circles and in educational practice across the post-industrial global north, access to the dominant language is regarded as the sine qua non of integration and little attention is paid to students’ multilingual language resources.

The aim of this session is to explore approaches to (language) education that value the entire range of students’ linguistic and semiotic repertoires. We begin by examining data from a large study of urban multilingualism, the AHRC-funded Translation and Translanguaging (TLang) project, looking at salient aspects of language use and meaning-making in work, social and home settings in Leeds, in the North of England.

In the second part we look at examples of translanguaging in pedagogy from a variety of educational contexts, designed to enable the full range of students’ communicative repertoires to be brought into education as resources for meaning-making, for the expression of identity, and for engendering a sense of belonging. To end we will discuss implications for language education policy practice in contexts with which participants are familiar

About the speaker: Dr James Simpson is Senior Lecturer in Language Education at the University of Leeds, where he leads the Language Education Academic Group.

Relevant Publications

Simpson J and Whiteside A (eds.) Adult Migrant Language Education: Challenging Agendas in Policy and Practice (London: Routledge, 2016)

Simpson J, Bradley J, ‘Communication in the contact zone: The TLANG project and ESOL’, Language Issues: The ESOL Journal, 27.2 (2017), 4-18 Repository URL: