Question: How can “Spanglish” be used as a literacy tool?
Note: “The 2011 Alan C. Purves Award Committee is pleased to announce this year’s award recipient, Ramon Antonio Martinez. His article, “Spanglish as Literacy tool: Toward an Understanding the Potential Role of Spanglish-English Code-Switching in the Development of Academic Literacy (Research in the Teaching of English Vol. 25, No. 2, November 2010, provides compelling and relevant perspective on Spanglish as a pedagogical resource, not merely a linguistic or cultural phenomenon.” P. 314.
Answer/Quote: “Ramon Martinez’s fine-grained qualitative study, conducted in a sixth-grade English language arts class in East Los Angeles, illustrates the substantial linguistic complexity and sophistication employed by bilingual middle school students. As he observes the students speaking, joking, arguing—sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish—Martinez focuses on the ways they utilize Spanglish to create meaning, rather than merely to compensate for lack of proficiency in one language or the other. This ‘deficit rationale[ theory about Spanglish—that code-switching is a response to lack of linguistic skill—is so dominant that even students in Martinez’s previous studies have cited it to explain why they employ Spanglish. In fact, as Martinez amply demonstrates through first-hand observational data and solid application of theory, code-switching is a sophisticated linguistic skill that instructors and students can employ to further academic literacy. His article provides a blueprint for leveraging students’ code-switching skills into greater meta-cognitive awareness and new learning.” P. 314.
Comment: A different way of looking at a phenomenon that has always been considered a deficit in learning a language. And code-switching can be used in other situations as well. Interesting. Note a previous article about having English learners translating the textbook in English into their native language and what this teaches the students about English. RayS.
Title: “Announcing the 2011 Alan C. Purves Award Recipient.” Research in the Teaching of English (February 2012), 314-316.