<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=940171109376247&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Dedicated to Teachers

On the Podcast: The Transformative Power of Translanguaging in Literature with Carla España and Luz Yadira Herrera

blog _ Podcast _ España_Herrera _ The Transformative Power of Translanguagin In Literature

Today on the podcast we’re joined by Carla España and Luz Yardia Herrera, co-authors of En Comunidad: Lessons for Centering the Voices and Experiences of Bilingual Latinx Students. Heinemann colleague Jaclyn Karabinas joined Carla and Luz to talk about choosing texts that speak to and honor the multilingual students in your class. Throughout their conversation, they describe the importance of translanguaging, provide helpful tips for choosing multilingual texts while teaching remotely, and explain how you can teach these texts even if you yourself are monolingual.

Download a sample chapter of En Comunidad

Their conversation started with explaining what translanguaging is, and the role it plays in multilingual education.


Below is a transcript of this episode. 

Luz: In our book, we define translanguaging in three ways, and we go back to Ofelia Garcia and in the definition from 2014 where they define translanguaging as linguistic practices of bilinguals, a pedagogical approach and as a means for social justice, where students' language practices are honored. So that's really how we navigate this entire book.

And in terms of what it means for bilingual students, it just means that they are seeing their languages, their language practices or community language practices represented in their schooling. They're seeing that there are clear connections between what they experience outside of schools and inside of schools. And we think that's a really powerful thing to have.

Carla: We see translanguaging as being very disruptive of the monolingual curriculum, of the monolingual assessments, of monolingual pedagogy. And this happens in any space. You can be a monolingual teacher teaching in a class that's just an English language arts class, but you might have bilingual and multilingual speakers, and in that space, you can create translanguaging spaces within that. You can employ translanguaging pedagogy. You can create those times where students can engage using their full linguistic repertoire that uses features from different languages, right? And that can happen in your "monolingual", quote unquote, right, classroom, but also it can happen in bilingual settings. And we've also seen how even in classrooms that might be labeled bilingual dual language or transitional bilingual classrooms, even those spaces sometimes tend to be very monolingual, very with the philosophy of assimilation, of trying to push towards this English. And so we're very thankful for all the research, all the practice that goes into this and all the teachers employing translanguaging in all kinds of spaces.

Jaclyn: What unique challenges are multilingual students facing right now and how can we provide support to multilingual students, not just online now, but how can we provide support to them in general?

Luz: Well, I think we have to be very flexible, right, in terms of our ... and I think we're seeing that we must be very flexible in terms of what's happening with remote learning, virtual learning spaces. What it means for bilingual or multilingual students is that while they're probably getting a lot less support than they would in their regular school day, right, often students who are identified as needing additional supports and services do have an extra adult in the classroom or sometimes maybe they get pulled out for special services or different services and so they don't have those kinds of things, like other students who are also missing out on various services, students with disabilities for instance, right?

Carla: I think that's something you mentioned, Luz, that's so important to think about is being flexible with the time that's available with the resources that are available and thinking really carefully about people as resources, as the knowledge base that we have in teachers, right? And so what you mentioned reminded me of one of my grad students who is also a bilingual dual language teacher in the Bronx in New York, and that was one of the first challenges that she faced after the big issue that we talk about with having access to devices.

But once the school made sure that every single student had the devices, the next challenge was how do you meet with students when they've had so much support with support staff at school, right, in person. And so in this case, the teachers, they shared a schedule and then they had all the support staff come in and that was really helpful for them because once that kind of communication happened, the students were able to take part of the whole class meeting where the teacher, who was my grad student, was reading aloud a book and students were able to engage with it live while others were able to watch and engage with it at another time. But there were moments where support staff would come into those meetings or into small groups. And that's super helpful, and that's something that I've been thinking about that challenge a lot because it's coming up in my courses with teachers, but it's also something that I've been very thankful for, the creativity and the flexibility, not only from teachers but also from families and thinking about that.

And I think the other one that we talk a lot with Luz because it's a big part of our book is just the resources that are available. I get updates from New York State, TESOL organization. I get updates, right, New York State Association of Bilingual Ed, [inaudible 00:04:51] website, right? Lee and Low books. And so thinking about all these organizations and resources that have support for this population of students, and I'm just thankful that they're sharing that, but I also know that for the most part, like I mentioned earlier, most curriculum tools are in English, and so how do you navigate that space? Because then it's requiring so much more work on top of what teachers are already dealing with to provide for the support. I'm just thankful for those who are sharing the tech tools that are helping us with translations, that are helping us make education more interactive for this population.

Luz: I wanted to add one more thing that we've been thinking about, and it's just the interaction piece. A lot of our students, a lot of bilingual and multilingual students, they really thrive on this interaction. And I think all children probably also thrive in interaction. They learn and grow with each other through one another and that's definitely is something that they miss. I think that students help each other out, especially in translanguaging spaces, right? They help each other make sense of what they're engaging with, what they're reading, what they're learning, and this is part of translanguaging, being able to use each other, students, each other as a resource. Especially if the teacher is monolingual or doesn't know the student's languages, that's one way that they can facilitate, right? They can pair up students, they can group students to support each other, and of course, that's not going to be very possible in a remote learning space.

Jaclyn: Yeah, I was thinking about that a little bit actually, thinking about the importance sometimes when students have a buddy learner in the classroom as they're beginning to navigate this and thinking about how challenging that would be to schedule online, but it would still be really valuable. Can you talk about the different ways that authors translanguage and how you did this in your book?

Luz: Well, we actually recently wrote about this in an upcoming publication, academic publication, and so we're really excited to share that soon. But we talk about the ways that authors engage with translanguaging in their texts and children's literature, YA, middle grade and children's picture books. And we really like how our colleague, a professor at Brooklyn College, talks about how translanguaging is used. And she argues that translanguaging is often used in Latinx literature for literary effect in order to convey authenticity in the communication between characters in a book, and we see that happening a lot in the texts that we chose, that we amplify in our book for instance. We have an example of Monica Brown, right? Monica Brown writes the Marisol McDonald series, and do you want to talk about that, Carla?

Carla: Yes, and she's also making those readings available on YouTube, so subscribe to Monica Brown's YouTube channel and you're able to view the bilingual readings. And so in some of those examples that we've been looking at, like in Marisol McDonald or Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash, which is one text that has the English and Spanish within it, right? I'm trying to think. Is that the book? Yes. I was like, "Is it side by side? No, or top to bottom? Yes," because I don't have my books. They're in the office. Can we all have a moment of silence for all the ... We're just missing our books that are not with us.

So in that book, right, Marisol has these beautiful birthday plans and her mother has to break the news to her, right, that Abuelita can't take part in that because her Abuelita is not in the country. And so there's this line that Monica Brown writes that says, "Marisol, it isn't just the money," Mommy explains. "It's hard to get papeles to come to the United States. Abuelita needs a special document called the visa to visit us, but sometimes it takes a long time for the visa to arrive." Speaks to a lot of our realities.

And then later on, there's the birthday, and Abuelita, they communicate through the way we've been communicating a lot these last few weeks, right, through a computer. And Abuelita says,  "feliz cumpleaños, Marisol. I'm still waiting for my visa, but I used some of the money you sent me to buy my first computer and get internet connection. "Te quiero mucho," I tell Abuelita. "I love you so much." And I just wanted to share some of those excerpts, because I want you to go read these books and read them with children.

But also thinking about how translanguaging is used to show this way of communicating with family and it shows a family connection. It shows authenticity. It shows relationships, and it's also character development. So it's this really thoughtful craft from thinking about the writer's perspective, and as a reader, I'm also connecting with it and thinking about authenticity. And so for us, it's really key that we search for these texts and also amplify these voices and these stories, especially own voices, own texts. And so we wanted to share that brief example with you.

Luz: And another thing that we want to point out and like to point out, which we do in our book as well, is how the choice that authors often make more recently, more than ever, to not italicize, right? And Yuyi Morales' book, Dreamers, is a really beautiful example of this. In that book, she takes us through her own immigration journey and what the library as a public space meant for her and her son to find her own space, to just regain her confidence. And that's how she eventually found her livelihood, right, as an author and illustrator. But the way that she uses her language just reminds us that as bilinguals, there's not an on or off button, right? There's just language and the way that she writes it is exactly how bilinguals think, how bilinguals speak, and communicate with each other.

So for instance, there's a really short excerpt that we love to highlight from her 2018 book Dreamers, she says, "We are stories, we are two languages, we are lucha, we are resilience, we are hope. We are dreamers, soñadoras of the world." And just in that little excerpt or that little, few phrases, right, she engages her entire linguistic repertoire. And it's just a reminder that there's no boundaries in language. There's no boundaries in the ways that we use language. And so it's an important thing to point out. And in our book we chose to do a similar approach because again, as bilinguals we wanted to present ourselves as authentically as possible.

Jaclyn: And I think you don't want to admit the words that are in their realities and their memories of what they're telling, because I remember... Side story, I'm sorry, I have to. When I was studying abroad, I remember that I studied abroad in Ecuador and there were so many words from the Quechua language that made their way into Spanish there, and they didn't have a direct translation to Spanish, let alone to English. And so I remember coming back thinking, this is that word, but I don't have an English word for that. I don't even have a Spanish word for that. I have a Quechua word for that. And I was just reading your book, just thinking about that, how you have to speak with and write with the words that are of your reality.

Carla: Just thinking about that words from your reality, reminding me of My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Pena because that opening line of, "My Papi Has a Motorcycle. From him I learned words like carburetor and cariño and dedication." I was just like, "You had me Isabel Quintero, in this first part." Right? That word cariño and it's such a key word throughout the books that we think about this relationship between father and child and also this relationship between a family and a community and things that are changing. And yet you go all the way to the end and towards the end it reminds you of this word cariño and things that don't change. So that's another text we love.

Jaclyn: Carla, you begin chapter three with your momento de aprendizaje, your aha moment. You invite students to use translanguaging when telling their own stories. And you modeled doing this yourself, teacher vulnerability, by sharing your own writing, sharing your carburetor. And it really seemed to invite students and give them the permission almost to include the repertoire of language that they have in their writing. And it struck me as a really critical piece to plan for. Can you talk more about this?

Carla: Yeah, that was a really special moment in middle grade classroom, right? And so I was doing a teaching demonstration as I was curriculum planning with some middle grade teachers in a suburb of Chicago. And as always, I never want to ask students to engage in any literacy practice that I haven't tried myself. And so I had my writer's notebook with me, I had some mentor texts and I shared with them a moment from my life and that had words ... it has some dialogue. So I was working through balancing the dialogue and setting description and just emotions that I felt at the moment when I came to this country with my mom from Chile and we spoke Spanish. And so I had the dialogue there in Spanish and I just read it ... I didn't call attention to it. I just read in that moment, and then I asked the students to name what they saw that I did as a writer. And so we created a nice little chart together about what we did.

And when I asked the students to then work on their own writing, that beautiful part of where a child from the back of the room raises her hand and she's sitting with a staff member who was teaching but also was the literacy leader there in that school. And so she calls me over, I walk over and she asked me if it's okay for her to use Spanish. And I thought, "Well of course if this is part of your life and we're using all of our language features that we know and how beautiful it is that you can include that. That's part of your story." And I was like "I can't wait for you to work on this. And let's share it later if you'd like to share it."

But one, I think ... So key things that happened there. One, as a teacher, I was purposeful in making sure I shared my own writing, right? Two, I made sure that I allowed student choice and student participation in that kind of process to look at my piece and also think about what they wanted to write. And three, it was just that creating the space for students to engage in the same. And so when I've shared this with teachers who say, "Well, my writing might not have lines in Spanish because that's not my experience." And I say, "Well, that's why we bring in other authors, right?" So I'm Chilean, I was born in Chile, came to the U.S. when I was little. But I'm always sharing Naomi Shibab Nye's Gate A-4 piece that it has Arabic, and we talk about a different perspective and we talk, and we do and use that as a mentor text because I want to show carburetor in different kinds of texts and show students who are bilingual and multilingual that they too can do this as writers.

Jaclyn: It seems as though for teachers who aren't bilingual or even if teachers are but don't speak the language of the students that they're working with at that time, that it's even more important then to include a variety of bilingual texts, of mentor texts, so that they can read like writers in a variety of ways.

Luz: Right. And I think, well that's one of the things about remote learning that can be challenging, right? Which we talked about before. This interaction piece is going to be missing, who knows for how long, but for now it's going to be missing. And so that chance that teachers can have in the classroom to, again, to interact with the text, with children in small groups and who can then support each other. That's going to be a challenge obviously with remote learning.

But if teachers are not themselves bilingual or multilingual, they can still create spaces within their assignments for children to use their entire linguistic repertoire, whether they're responding to a text of any assignments, a variety of kinds of responses, right? Not only written but also maybe video or through any kind of way that allows them to express themselves and use their entire linguistic repertoire. So those are the kinds of spaces that the teachers can still facilitate, regardless of the learning spaces that they're interacting with.

Carla: I was thinking about that same example from the teacher in the Bronx that does her live readings of books in English and Spanish and she'll have them at different points in the day and it's over second graders and their morning closing meetings, they're very short. But in those moments, students are engaging in a carburetor lesson that the teacher might be reading the texts. Let's say she's reading Sembrando Historias, right? The Pura Belpre book By Anika Aldamuy Denise illustrated by Paola Escobar, and they're talking about Pura Belpre and they're learning about libraries, they're learning about books and the role of books in her life and how she was writing. Great. So they're interacting. She might be reading in Spanish, students might be responding using features of Spanish and English that's live. Wonderful.

Then there are the other 20 out of the 25 students who couldn't be online at that time, which has been the case these past few weeks. And so she posts that video and students respond in different ways. And so they're either commenting through writing or they're doing ... In that class they're using, I believe it's Flipgrid on the Seesaw platform, they're posting it. If it's a Flipgrid video response that they're recording and kids can add emojis, they can add little Post-it Notes on it. So I've been ... I'm meeting with them later. This today is our next session. So I'm excited to hear from the teacher as to how this kind of interaction has been changing and what it looks like, so it gives me a little bit more hope as more students get to engage with them as well.

Luz: One thing that I wanted to just include, we actually wrote about this recently, Carla and I, and it also is coming from Ofelia Garcia's latest work on carburetor and how she points out that just because students are presented with something monolingually doesn't mean that they themselves are not engaging or are not carburetor, right? That they themselves are not engaging with that material bilingually. So students are already doing that naturally as bilinguals, multilinguals. So that's just an important thing. An important reminder I think for all educators that students are already doing this. The key is how can we support and facilitate that whenever possible.

Translanguaging and code switching are different, epistemologically. Translanguaging is in internal perspectives. It's what bilingual people do, their bilingual language practices, language practices of the community that they engage with every day. Whereas code switching is sort of the external perspective, what outsiders feel bilinguals or multilingual people are doing. Code switching brings up the notion that we can just turn on and off our language or we can turn our language on and off. Whereas carburetor is sort of a dynamic fluid languaging practices, which is more reflective of what bilingual people actually are doing.

Jaclyn: In chapter three, you talk a lot about your planning process, so I'm really looking forward to sharing with all of our listeners. What does the planning process look like to achieve all of these things?

Carla: Well, the first thing that we're thinking about in chapter three was starting from what students already teach us, right? And that's why we titled it "Telling Our Stories," and students as bilingual, multilingual, Latinx students, they have experiences, they have different journeys. And so once we already know that from students, we want it to be really purposeful in thinking about which texts can we select to read together? Not so much that I would read out loud and you just listen and I'm going to do all of this reading and writing work, but that we together read and engage with it. And so we thought, what if we really think about what we know about the students, we know we want to pick texts that employ carburetor, right? And so that something about their language in there. We want to select texts that really help us talk about issues of journeys and how journeys are very varied. And so you read it in chapter one of the book, Luz and I may have met in our grad program and we both were teachers in New York city, but before ... our journeys are different.

And so we had different kinds of schooling, our families had different journeys. And I think that's really important that we pick a variety of texts to show that complexity and that's why I'm thankful for those publishers and those organizations like like Latinx in publishing that are amplifying all of these stories because we need more of these stories. You can't just say as a publisher or as an organization, "Wow. Yes, we have this one book about immigration from, I don't know, Mexico. Yes, that's it. We're done." No, actually we have a lot of stories of immigration migration. So for us as step one, we're thinking about really purposeful text selection.

So that's what we share in the beginning of chapter three and give you alternate texts for elementary and middle grades and then really thinking about planning that reading in communities. So I know that on the Heinemann website where the book is featured, we have a sample template that's available for download and that's called a sample plan for reading in community. And what we set that up for that plan is really thinking about steps of setting up for reading in community, thinking about the themes of the book and involving the community. Thinking about your typical book introduction, but in this case also thinking about translanguaging and making a note into the language practices of the authors, of the characters in the book. And then being purposeful about those moments where you will select places where students can actually join you and participate. And so being thoughtful about when we read texts along with students, is it mostly my voice that they're hearing or are they hearing each other's voices? Can they read along with me in some places and having a final discussion on those themes. So that's a little bit of the start, but I'll let Luz talk a little bit about what would follow the reading of the text because we found beautiful resources with the authors that we select. So she could tell you a little bit about lessons two and three.

Luz: So for lessons for lesson two, on chapter three we talk about writing our own stories. This lesson really focuses on giving or creating that space in our classrooms, whether it is in person or virtual for students to write their own stories and thinking about how they can look at the craft moves from these metric texts and employ some of those. So maybe it's through dialogue, maybe it's through thinking about themes that they want to highlight about their own lives and making some connections with the authors and seeing how they go about introducing and navigating these themes.

We also consider the ways that students can develop characters. Maybe it's their own stories, but maybe they want to make several focal characters as part of their central stories. For instance in Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre or Alma and how she got her name by Juana Martinez Neil, Alma's shares ... it's a father-daughter story. The father shares the story of how Alma got her name and each name is symbolic and means something really special in their family. And so maybe that's one way students can share the history of their names for instance. And it would be a fun way to just share of themselves and also create opportunities for them to not only share these stories in writing but through video perhaps, especially with remote learning. I think it invites those kinds of spaces to occur through video, maybe through art as well and not only through writing.

Carla: So in addition to using that guide to planning a reading in community, experience with students, whether it's synchronous or asynchronous and students are interacting with a text after they've viewed you reading it or an author reading it. We also wanted to call your mention in chapter six of the book. It is our poetry chapter, so if you want to hear a little bit more about poetry, we know that that's going to be our next podcast episode, so we'll talk a little bit more about that. But there is a really helpful planning for shared reading across a week using poetry in chapter six and that's on page 145. We have [inaudible 00:26:38] because ... a concern that we had was that in our school visits ... so Luz and I because we're in teacher education, we do a lot of business throughout different grades.

One of observations that we've had when we were visiting schools was that a lot of the participation by bilingual and multilingual students was happening in the lower grades with shared reading experiences, especially kindergarten and first grade. And the higher grade you went up, the less of that we saw. And so especially now I talk with my students who have been in residency programs with high school they haven't ... they want more of that participation as well. And so we wanted to be purposeful and that guide really thinks about how can we take a text, for example, we can take an excerpt from My Papi Has a Motorcycle. We can take one of the scenes from Monica Brown's book that we were talking about earlier. We can take any extra from a book that we've already engaged with and return to it and really take our time rereading it together every single day.

So you would practice reading it in community together, but also taking each day to focus on maybe one day we think about meaning and we discuss what this means to us. Another day we think about figurative language or author's craft moves and the last day thinking about a response a little bit in response to it. So I just wanted to call attention to that being a different but a purposeful as well tool besides those reading and community plans that would be for an entire text. This one could be just how you can revisit an excerpt of a larger text or ... like in chapter six, we have examples of how we use poetry, so we can't wait for it our next podcast episode where we can talk a little bit more about what that sounds like and how to use poetry across the school year, not just April.

Jaclyn: Our options for literature are somewhat limited now that most teachers and students in the US are doing remote learning. But what are some creative formats you've used or what are some texts you recommend?

Luz: Sure. And I've actually been able to take advantage of a lot of these myself with my son since I'm also home. But a lot of authors that we actually feature in our text have been so generous in sharing of their craft and their time and their art, and their writing. So they've been doing read-alouds, like Michael Lapiña has been doing read-alouds, Jacqueline Woodson has been doing read-alouds. Monica Brown has her own YouTube channel. So there's a lot of these big name authors that are really sharing their books and some of them have given special permissions for teachers to record themselves doing read-alouds of their books to share with their classrooms or their classes for a limited amount of time. And publishers have also come out and supported this practice to an extent. So we have to keep those things in mind. But yeah, seeking out some of these authors and seeing some of the resources that they've uploaded or posted on their social media, their Facebook, YouTube, and things like that would be a really good starting point. Of course, people don't always have access to the kind of technology that you'll need for this or perhaps the social media accounts that you'll need for these kinds of resources, but it's a pretty good starting point.

Carla: A conversation that I keep having with Luz, weave discussed both our gratitude for all of these exciting online opportunities to engage with authors and illustrators, but also holding this tension with that gratitude comes this immense awareness that even though we're thankful for authors, poets, illustrators being generous with their craft, we're also keeping in mind that a lot for a lot of them ... well, for everyone right now, all school visits, talks, conference, presentations, all of those have been impacted. And so yes, we're thankful and along with that, we should try to find ways to support, especially our small publishers and our authors that are new authors and those whose entire livelihoods depend on their school visits and conference and all of that. And so besides seeking out those that are sharing, we've also been recommending visiting bookshop or IndieBound websites to look at ways to support our independent booksellers or smaller publishing houses like Cinco Puntos Press, Arte Publico that are publishing these kinds of books that we're recommending.

And also I know for New York residents we've been using the simply ... the New York public library app. That's been really helpful. So I was on a video conference call with some of my teacher friends and we decided to start a book club because we're all reading these different books and I mentioned a book and immediately once I mentioned it, I put it up to the screen and it was Children of the Land. So I'm reading that memoir by Marcello Hernandez Castillo, I hold it up to the screen and my friend within seconds was like, "Oh, I got it." She puts up her phone on the screen because she got it through the Public Library app. And so we're also recommending people look at their ... try to find texts and supporting those places as well.

Jaclyn: Yeah, that was great because I think both of you sharing those two pieces of it, and it's the and, right? Yes, we're excited about the access and we need to keep in mind that in many ways they're giving away work for free, which is an ideal.

Carla: Yeah. And for some that's quite completely fine because they're in a position where for some they're like ... they're okay financially. But for most authors, that's not the case.

Luz: Some authors have also been doing some book talks and in order to get access to those book talks, you might have to purchase a book through one of these independent bookshops and things like that. So they've been trying a little bit of that. But it's still very much not a widely implemented practice yet. And I think to end, we want to just emphasize the transformative nature or the transformative power of translanguaging and literature. And I want us to think about the waste that we can use texts like the ones that we share in our book and the ones that we shared today to explore and make connections between what students read and students' family journeys, right?

And again, remembering that students have widely different and varied experiences, and we cannot lump all immigration experiences into just one category. We have to think about the varied experiences even within that. And another way that it really is powerful is that it affirms our students' community language and literacy practices. Often students feel that there's a deep disconnect between school and home. And so this is one powerful way that we can really affirm our students' language practices, their community language practices and also just.. Often especially in certain settings, classroom settings, language is very much structured in a way that it's... language is separated. What am I trying to say here? There's a lot of bilingual settings that actually insist on a language separation.

And, often that is very difficult for bilingual children because they don't live as two monolinguals in one, right, as we all know, and they exist as bilinguals. And I think this kind of literature reminds children that their language practices are great, that they're fine, that they're part of their identities and culture and part of, again, their community language practices.

And I'm thinking about.. We shared a piece by Monica Brown and we shared a little piece from Isabel Quintero's book, My Papi Has A Motorcycle. And, one of the things that they do in their books is critique some injustice, sort of social structures, whether it's gentrification or you know, the flawed immigration system. So it provides students the opportunities to engage with these kinds of conversations that might be important for their families, for their communities as well.

Jaclyn: It seems like it would only strengthen the community to make, to consistently bring in texts that represent the languages in the classroom because it's not, I mean, just like you said, don't just do poetry in April. You know, we're not just going to have bilingual texts in Spanish and English in September. You know, it's important year round. It's not just important in one single month. And the message that sends, you know, when you do this regularly, whether you are bilingual or not, the message it sends that you also see it as, you know, an important part of the literature in the classroom.

Carla: So we've also been.. As we're both raising bilingual children and in these times we've also, besides having conversations about lesson planning, we've also been having conversations from the perspective of a parent and also talking with our students in our teacher ed programs who are parents themselves, or who are teaching. And they also engage with families who have school-aged children at home. This is something we also been thinking about is.. You know, our students with their families at home have engaged with multiple literacies before school went online. And so I think we just have to be very cautious about that in the language that we use without making assumptions that like students.. Oh, they're at home, they're not getting that kind of like deficit framework that we hear a lot about, especially in our work with bilingual, multilingual, Latinx children.

And so, like I think about my own childhood at home. My mom was, and continues to be an amazing storyteller. And so, storytelling is one kind of literacy that was very prominent in my childhood. My father is, was always, at the time when I was a child, he was always listening to like, church sermons on cassette tapes. Now, he's like so fancy on these, like, Facebook live groups with these, like, spiritual religious communities that are, you know, doing their Zoom or Facebook live gatherings. And so, music was a big part of my childhood and I would always be singing and dancing. And when I was in Chila, I was in this folklore group and I was engaging with a lot of poetry and song as a child.

And so, even I think about my childhood and I think about the childhood of my grad students, students now in their schools, and how we can think about all those multiple literacy practice that we want to continue encouraging families to highlight with their children, so that the children can also talk to their teachers about that. And teachers reminding teachers that this is, these are, different literacy practices and that we can get to know our students better by incorporating those in our instruction. So really taking a moment to continue getting to know students in their multiple literacy practices at home and bringing that into our instruction.

Luz: And I think just as a reminder, Carla and I are both parents, we're scholars, we're educators as well. So in addition to parenting our own bilingual children at home, we're also working, we're teaching online our own grad students, in-service, pre-service teachers. And so I think it's just an important reminder for working parents or for all parents, whether you're an essential worker, or you're working from home, to just be very, very kind and forgiving of yourselves.

You know, at first I was really, I was okay, I was really kind of buying into the really acute structural, structured schedule for the day, and then realized it was just impossible to maintain with my six year-old. He's in kindergarten. And so we absolutely scaled back. We decided that we were going to pick, you know, four activities per day that we were going to have fun with, whether it was reading, or maybe it's math or science experiments. We just kind of went about it that way and just.. And maybe he's in kindergarten, so that's why we have a lot more flexibility. But I think flexibility is key and just being kind with yourselves is key and just doing the best that you can with what you've got. Jaclyn, thank you again for having us.

Jaclyn: Great to talk to both of you.

Carla: We're also super thankful for Heinemann using this platform really to amplify these stories, these experiences, and especially during these times. I think it's important that we use these platforms to highlight the experiences of communities, especially those that are most marginalized. So we're really appreciative of this.

Jaclyn: Well, it's our pleasure and an honor for sure.

Learn more about En Comunidad at Heinemann.com

Download a sample chapter of En Comunidad

glyph-logo_May2016Follow us on Instagram @heinemannpub to stay up to date on the latest books, your favorite authors, and upcoming events!

carlaespanaCarla España is an instructor at the Bank Street College Graduate School of Education. Carla’s teaching journey began in a bilingual classroom in Harlem, New York, continued at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project partner schools, and at the bilingual teacher preparation program at Hunter College, City University of New York. Finder Carla on Twitter: @ProfesoraEspana


Luz Yadira Herrera is an Assistant Professor at the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University, Fresno. As a former teacher in NYC public schools and researcher at CUNY-NYSIEB, her teaching and research centers culturally and linguistically sustaining approaches to teaching emergent bilinguals, translanguaging pedagogy, and bilingual education policy. Find Luz on Twitter: @Dra_LuzYadira

Topics: Podcast, Heinemann Podcast, Carla España, En Comunidad, Luz Yadira Herrera, Bilingual, Distance Learning, Covid_19, Remote Learning

Date Published: 05/07/20

Related Posts

Read Aloud Podcast: Enhancing Literacy and Learning Outside the Classroom with StoryWalks

Have you ever thought about what literacy might look like outside of the classroom?
Jun 10, 2024 4:00:00 AM

Read Aloud Podcast: Anchoring Lessons with Essential Questions

How can we rely on our human capacity to love, to engage in teaching for social justice even in the prese...
Jun 3, 2024 4:00:00 AM

Read Aloud Podcast: Extending Understanding

How can we help students move beyond basic comprehension to deeper understanding and critical thinking ab...
May 27, 2024 4:00:00 AM

Read Aloud Podcast: Authentic Writing for Real Audiences

Today on the Heinemann Podcast, how can writing for real audiences change student engagement?
May 20, 2024 4:00:00 AM