Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Monolingual ideology and translingual practice in multimodal classroom spaces


Writing Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Arts and Humanities


Approaches to teaching writing at the college level have changed significantly in recent years in regards to according rights to different language varieties used in the U.S. composition classroom. Efforts such as the 1974 NCTE statement on Students Right to Their Own Language (NCTE, 1974) and an opinion published in College English (Horner et al., 2011) and signed by fifty teacher-scholars promoting a translingual approach to teaching composition incorporate important differences in students language varieties and reflect the ever-changing nature of English(es). While the translingual approach to teaching composition has been gaining in popularity as also evidenced by an increasing number of panels on the subject at CCCC, this approach has to overcome students monolingual ideology that postulates languages as discrete, uniform, and stable (Horner et al., 2011, p. 307). Monolingual ideology has been ingrained in students minds through our educational system and creates expectations that language users conform to a single set of norms assuming a strict separation of these norms by languages. Although more and more composition teachers adopt the translingual approach in their teaching practices in traditional composition classrooms and discuss it in their scholarship (Canagarajah, 2013, Pandey, 2013, Bou Ayash, 2013), there are few articles on how monolingual ideology and translingual practice compete in digital writing spaces. My proposed poster presentation will intend to fill this gap by showcasing a transcultural blog exchange project where students from the United States and Hungary introduced themselves by describing their identities and languages using the multimodal resources of the blog interface. The poster will incorporate blog page examples that show to what extent both monolingual ideology and translingual practice was present on the blogs. The poster will also show instances of interaction between students that happened in the comment feature of the blogs where the old (monolingual) ideologies get challenged and new (translingual) practices get accepted. In addition, the poster will present the results of the discourse analysis of all blogs and comments generated throughout this project aimed at discovering students strategies that led to fruitful discussions of cultural stereotypes and language attitudes. The results show that establishing a shared space and positioning through verbal and multimodal means were very effective ways of challenging cultural and linguistic assumptions for the students involved in the project. During the poster sessions, I intend to add multimodal components to my poster by encouraging interested participants to explore students texts, pictures, and videos with the most relevant expressions of language attitudes and practices on a tablet device. Combining the traditional poster with the hands-on engagement during the poster sessions will allow me to argue that digital spaces created by multimodal classroom projects have a very important role in challenging language ideologies.

Conference Name

Conference on College Composition and Communication

Conference Location

Tampa, FL

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