Translanguaging practices and the negotiation of a ‘conflicted heritage’
This paper uses the notion of ‘conflicted heritage’ to discuss polylingual classroom practices in a highly diverse Greek-Cypriot primary school classroom, following an attempt to implement translanguaging pedagogies. Translanguaging is usually seen as a pedagogical strategy that can ‘offer communicative and educational possibilities to all’ (García 2009: 148), ‘giving voice’ to marginalised migrant students (García & Wei 2014: 105). However, what makes this case rather particular, is that one of the classroom languages is Turkish, a language that has been stigmatized by a history of conflict both in the Greek-Cypriot context and in many of the children’s own communities and historical trajectories (e.g. Pontian context and Bulgarian context). Drawing on linguistic ethnographic data (classroom observations and recordings), this study examines how language ideologies and historical trajectories may occasionally create unfavourable ecologies, stances and identities for certain linguistic practices. The findings showed that the teacher’s attempt to encourage translanguaging practices integrating the use of Turkish (students’ heritage language) in a Greek literacy classroom, was met with considerable resistance, self-censoring and inarticulateness, as students appeared hesitant in participating in a public performance of Turkish-speakerness. In discussing these findings, the paper revisits discussions on language and heritage and points to important implications for language policy and language education in multilingual contexts.