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SCT and Translanguaging-to-learn: Proposed Conceptual Integration

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Heather Smith



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper arose as a result of dialogue between researchers involved in a research project undertaken across England, Finland, France, and Romania. The research aimed to improve the educational experience for Roma children in school, who face sustained racism, discrimination and poverty, alongside reduced levels of access to and inequitable outcomes in education, by focussing on translanguaging as a transformative pedagogy. A close reading of the translanguaging literature, revealed an oft assumed sociocultural understanding of learning. This paper is an exploration of the synergies and tensions between sociocultural theory as a learning theory and translanguaging as a theory of language in use and as a pedagogical approach in order to suggest a conceptual integration useful to both. In particular, we focus on the formation and form of Vygostkian inner speech, given its central role in higher mental activity such as learning. We examine movement between external speech in collaborative activity (and to oneself) to condensed inner speech in reimagining de Guerrero’s (2005) schema, by fusing translanguaging theory with Vygotskian notions of sense and meaning, and everyday and scientific concepts. We also consider translanguaging in joint activity in terms of neo-Vygotskian notions of cumulative and exploratory talk, arguing the usefulness of microgenetic analysis to reveal learning in action within joint activity. The paper therefore provides both a renewal of sociocultural understandings of language and learning, and conceptual tools for a more refined and robust articulation and analysis of the operation of translanguaging to learn.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith HJ, Robertson L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Language and Sociocultural Theory

Year: 2020

Volume: 6

Issue: 2

Pages: 213-233

Print publication date: 31/03/2020

Online publication date: 31/03/2020

Acceptance date: 05/02/2019

Date deposited: 05/03/2020

ISSN (print): 2051-9699

ISSN (electronic): 2051-9702

Publisher: Equinox Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1558/lst.36955


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