Foreign-local teacher-learners in the digital classroom
Everyday translanguaging and pedagogical translanguaging in Norwegian higher education
Keywords:Autoethnography, Translanguaging, Higher Education, Norway, online teaching
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020, the University of Oslo (UiO), Norway, operated largely through in-person teaching, with minimal use of digital platforms. While online teaching did not change the multilingual nature of the academic community at UiO, nor the everyday Scandinavian-English translanguaging practices of our classrooms, it did bring to light the need to explicitly discuss forms of engagement and participation, including language use. We are both sociolinguists, learners of Norwegian and work migrants to Norway who have been members of UiO for over five years; as such, we negotiate positions as both foreign and local, and as teachers as well as learners. In this article, we take an autoethnographic practitioner inquiry perspective to investigate how our pedagogical translanguaging practices in digital modes of teaching have been shaped by (a) localised language hierarchies, (b) institutional demands/structures, (c) students’ needs and (d) our teaching philosophies. Drawing on our experiences in online teaching over three semesters, we analyse the challenges we have encountered and how attempting to address these challenges through pedagogical translanguaging practices has led to new insights into the nuances of Scandinavian repertoires and to pedagogical relationships based on a non-hierarchical understanding of the roles of lecturers and students. We have found it useful to draw attention to the everyday translanguaging of Norwegian society and to explicitly legitimise pedagogical translanguaging and translingual literacies in our classes as a way to foster metalinguistic awareness and better communication in the online classroom. At the same time, we acknowledge that the particular challenges posed by this digital transition and the dominant role of English in Scandinavian higher education still need further attention as we attempt to create teaching and learning spaces in online platforms that encourage the use of students’ and teachers’ linguistic repertoires.
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