Leveraging Native Language

Two for the Price of One:
Developing Students’ Bilingualism and Bi-literacy Workshop

This workshop helps participants leverage the home languages of their students to not only help improve their home language skills, but also to help them access more rigorous content and further develop their English.  Using videos, sample curriculum, strategies, and examples of different structures that can be implemented across disciplines, the workshop supports participants in understanding why, how and when to effectively have students work in their home languages.  Participants delve deeply into the concept and practices of “translanguaging”, which is essentially the flexible use of language (home languages or English), in an ELL classroom and how structures that support translanguaging are crucial for being able to engage all students in high level work, regardless of their level of English proficiency.  Participants receive an overview of concrete strategies to facilitate translanguaging in their classrooms and the opportunity to create a plan to incorporate some of these strategies into their own instruction.

Workshop Format

This workshop is designed to take place over a 2-3 hour period and contains the following:

  • An experiential activity in which participants are first asked to use a language they learned in high school (only) to engage in a cognitively complex activity.  They are then asked to the same activity using whatever language they wish even though they have to write something in the language they learned in high school.  Participants are able to see the difference in the level of thinking they are able to reach when they are allowed to use their home language.
  • An analysis of quotes covering major research findings on the use of translanguaging
  • A card sort activity to get at the definition of translanguaging
  • A review of concrete strategies to understand how to implement translanguaging in the classroom
  • A collaborative, discipline-based activity looking at and adapting curriculum to incorporate more translanguaging


By the end of this workshop series, participants will have:

  • Understood the definition of translanguaging and how it captures the ways in which many teachers at IHS’s incorporate home languages of students
  • Experienced the benefits of translanguaging for engaging content and higher-order thinking
  • Reviewed some strategies for structuring and facilitating effective translanguaging in a classroom
  • Created an initial plan for incorporating more translanguaging into your classroom

If you are interested in learning more about our workshops, please contact
Genna Robbins,  Manager of Professional Development Services:

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