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Translanguaging: An Enactive-Performative Approach to Language Education

Abstract : In this chapter, we describe the concept of translanguaging (translangager) at the intersection of Francisco Varela's enaction paradigm (1999) and the performative turn in cultural studies (Fischer-Lichte, 2004; Sting, 2012). We will shed light on two processes that unfold in relation to each other: empathising and living aesthetic experiences that "anchor abstract knowledge in a sensitive and embodied knowledge of the world" (Aden, 2008: 11). Linking the biological roots of language (Maturana & Varela, 1987) and the aesthetic roots of poetic languages (Lecoq, 1997), we have paved the way for an enactive-performative pedagogy for languages (Aden, 2017a, Aden & Eschenauer, 2014). From here we mapped out language education within a framework of ‘translanguageance’ that we define as "the process of emergence of a common language that makes sense, through all forms of language". (Eschenauer, 2017). First, we present “translanguaging” (translangager) (Aden, 2012) within Varela’s paradigm of enaction, then we introduce the performative approach that allows us to implement an enactive pedagogy. We go on to illustrate our translanguaging model with a study carried out in a plurilingual and pluricultural lower secondary school in the suburbs of Paris. We followed a cohort of 20 students, aged 11 to 14 over a period of four years (2011-2015). We assessed the impact of theatre workshops co-led by artists and teachers and used as part of the language teaching. This collaborative approach builds on the local ecology of languages (home, foreign and school languages) and takes into account the students’ voices and their capacity to navigate between all their languages and cultures. We show how the mechanisms of empathy (kinesthetic, emotional and cognitive), which engage all forms of language (corporal, cultural, linguistic) interwoven with aesthetic experience, form the very essence of translanguageance (Eschenauer, 2017). We will see that this pedagogical approach leads to a new configuration of human relations and social bonds.
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Contributor : Sandrine Eschenauer <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 11:58:32 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 3:44:08 AM


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Joëlle Aden, Sandrine Eschenauer. Translanguaging: An Enactive-Performative Approach to Language Education. Emilee Moore, Jessica Bradley, James Simpson. Translanguaging as transformation: The collaborative construction of new linguistic realities., Multilingual Matters, pp.102-117, 2020. ⟨hal-03224791⟩



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