The University of Arizona

Bilingually traversing the US/Mexico "wall" via a classroom telecollaborative exchange: Translanguaging online with the Functional Approach to Code-switching Electronically (FACE)

Steve Daniel Przymus


This study proposes to make the concept of translanguaging online accessible for teachers who wish to connect their classrooms with students in other countries via telecollaboration projects. I explore the role of instructed code-switching, as a strategic and intentional translanguaging strategy, for developing learners’ symbolic competence and in promoting the kind of communication in transnational telecollaboration projects that leads to positive bilingual identity and language development.  The majority of telecollaboration projects reported in the literature describe projects at the university language classroom setting and the varied dysfunctions that may lead to “failed communication” (O’Dowd & Ritter, 2013) or “missed communication” (Ware, 2005).  In contrast, the study within describes the successful impact of a pedagogical intervention, the Functional Approach to Code-switching Electronically (FACE) (Author, 2014), that fostered intercultural understanding among public high school students in an American Government class in the Southwestern United States and students in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) class in the Central Pacific Coast of Mexico. Findings demonstrate how teachers can adopt translanguaging practices in their classrooms by instructing the purposeful use of code-switching for facilitating the development of students’ L2, content acquisition, symbolic competence, and positive identities as bilinguals.  In doing so, students are given the strategies needed to successfully play within the power games situated across semi-anonymous online borders, walls, and contact zones (Vinall, 2010).


Code-switching; Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL); face; Functional Approach to Code-switching Electronically (FACE); Phatic Communication; Referential Communication; Symbolic Competence; Translanguaging

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