Tensions and potentials of translanguaging in online spaces

Teacher educators’ engagement in a self-study of dual language bilingual education


  • Jeannette D Alarcón University of Houston
  • Ye He University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Joan Lachance University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Jamie L Schissel University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Melody Zoch University of North Carolina at Greensboro




dual language bilingual education, translanguaging, social justice, teacher education, online


While dual language bilingual education (DLBE) programmes in the United States aim at cultivating pedagogical practices that support bilingualism and biliteracy development, they often idealise instructional models that separate languages within instruction and create educational spaces that privilege monolingual English-language proficiency standards. Scholars have called on schools to focus on the learning needs of language-minoritised learners through pedagogies that build upon the bilingual resources from language-minoritised learners and educators. One approach is adopting translanguaging pedagogies that promote flexible, hybrid, fluid languaging practices and advance social justice agendas in classrooms, ensuring that all students are educated deeply and justly. With the transition to and expansion of online teacher education programmes, it is critical to explore how teacher educators support teachers’ beliefs regarding translanguaging in online spaces. This self-study aimed to investigate our efforts as teacher educators to include translanguaging pedagogies as both a way to model practices and a conceptual framework for supporting in-service teachers to understand languages and language learning at a deeper level by exploring the guiding question: How has translanguaging (planned and unplanned) been part of online DLBE teacher education learning spaces? Using a narrative inquiry analysis based on teacher educators’ individual journals and critical friend group discussions, we explored both the tensions and potentials in online teaching and teacher education spaces based on our experiences.

Author Biographies

Jeannette D Alarcón, University of Houston

Jeannette D. Alarcón is Associate Professor in Teaching and Teacher Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Houston. She has expertise in community-centred practices to create more equitable learning environments. She currently works with pre-service and in-service teachers to develop equity-focused practices. Her university teaching includes courses on equity in education and teacher education in the undergraduate, MEd and PhD programs. Her research and funded projects focus on professional development for teachers and teacher educators using an equity lens to develop culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogies.

Ye He, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Ye He is a Professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She works with both pre-service and in-service teachers in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages teacher preparation program and facilitates statewide professional learning activities to support educators working with multilingual learners and their families. Her research focuses on the promotion of strength-based, community-engaged and diverse language and culture centred teaching and learning practices.

Joan Lachance, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Joan Lachance is an Associate Professor in the Cato College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She directs and teaches in the UNCC Graduate Certificate, Masters of Teaching and Undergraduate Minor programs in Teaching English as a Second Language. She is the co-author of The National Dual Language Education Teacher Preparation Standards and the Director of a Specialized Professional Association with the Council of Accreditation of Education Preparation. Her research focuses on teacher preparation for multilingualism, authentic assessment and collaborative practices in dual language teacher preparation, including those that focus on the preservation of Indigenous languages. 

Jamie L Schissel, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Jamie L. Schissel is Associate Professor, TESOL at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focuses on educational assessments and policies affecting linguistically and culturally diverse communities. Through historical analyses and participatory action research collaborations, these projects emphasise relationship-building to inform actions that challenge multiple modes of oppression.

Melody Zoch, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Melody Zoch is an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education and Higher Education department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches literacy education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages courses to pre-service and in-service teachers. Her research includes pre-service and in-service teachers and focuses on how they respond to their educational contexts, including their preparedness and responsiveness to culturally and linguistically diverse students and communities.


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How to Cite

Alarcón, J. D., He, Y., Lachance, J. ., Schissel, J. L., & Zoch, M. (2022). Tensions and potentials of translanguaging in online spaces: Teacher educators’ engagement in a self-study of dual language bilingual education. Journal of Multilingual Theories and Practices, 3(1), 53–77. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmtp.20796