Towards Translingual and Transcultural Practice: Explorations in a White-Majority, Rural, Midwestern Elementary Classroom

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Translingual practice, transcultural hybridity, literacy studies, elementary classrooms, digital tools, rural education

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New Literacy Studies and related scholarship on the use of digital tools in classrooms support the argument that literacy practices can be understood as translingual and transcultural practices within the context of an otherwise monocultural and monolingual setting. Pushing for broader conceptions of ‘mono’ settings and arguing for homing in on the unit of study as a means by which to unpack literacy practices, this paper makes the case conceptually as well as by offering insights from a recent classroom ethnography in a white-majority, English-only, high-poverty, rural sixth-grade classroom in the Midwestern United States. The paper considers the challenges of rural poverty and the complexities of using digital tools by examining the role digital tools, placed resources [Prinsloo, M. 2005. “The New Literacies as Placed Resources.” Perspectives in Education 4 (23): 87–98], play in marginalised settings. The data highlighted offer insights about how researchers and teachers might support and approach ‘mono’ elementary classroom literacy practices as drawing from across spaces as students engage with digital tools and global partners in what should also be understood as transcultural practice with the potential for translingual practice.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v. 38, issue 5, p. 422-437