“What Did She Say?”: Translation in a Primary-Grade English Immersion Class

Manyak, Patrick C.
Multicultural Perspectives

Drawing on data from a yearlong qualitative study of a primary-grade English immersion class of Spanish-dominant Latina and Latino students, the author analyzes bilingual children’s acts of translation during classroom activities. After pointing out the numerous positive benefits that resulted from these acts, the author suggests that encouraging bilingual students to engage in translation in the classroom represents a practical and powerful way to draw on linguistically diverse students’ sociocultural resources to facilitate their language and literacy learning. Furthermore, the author suggests that by affirming and extending bilingual children’s broad linguistic repertoires and strategies for engaging in intercultural transactions, classroom activities that promote translation also prepare diverse students to negotiate successful life pathways in our increasingly diverse society.