Deaf Students’ Translanguaging Practices in a Further Education College: Situating the Semiotic Repertoire in Social Interactions

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Further education (FE) colleges are the most usual postsecondary education destination for deaf young people in England. The role of college contexts in promoting deaf students’ learning warrants further exploration given the gaps in educational attainment common to deaf students and the potential for FE context to provide new and/or enhanced linguistic resources in comparison with school. The main research question is: How do deaf students’ translanguaging practices change according to the different contexts of interlocution in college? Translanguaging entails the flexible use of semiotic resources not bounded by named languages. This ethnographic study reports on five deaf college students’ translanguaging practices. Findings are presented under three moments of translanguaging: (1) translanguaging expanded, or deaf students widening their repertoires to engage in communication; (2) translanguaging restricted, or deaf students accommodating to their communicative partners’ needs; (3) translanguaging channeled, or the dominance of English countering the flexibility of translanguaging. It is argued that translanguaging should be promoted in whole classrooms. Otherwise, it will reinforce the dominance of hearing communication practices and hinder deaf students’ multilingual/multimodal repertoires.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number1
Early online date3 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

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