All We Need is a Boost! Using Multimodal Tools and the Translanguaging Strategy: Strengthening Speaking in the EFL Classroom

All We Need is a Boost! Using Multimodal Tools and the Translanguaging Strategy: Strengthening Speaking in the EFL Classroom

María Catalina Caro Torres (Universidad de La Sabana, Cundinamarca, Colombia), Yuri Natali Sarmiento Salamanca (Universidad de La Sabana, Cundinamarca, Colombia), Jennyfer Paola Camargo Cely (Universidad de La Sabana, Cundinamarca, Colombia) and Jose Leonardo Bautista Aguilar (Universidad de La Sabana, Cundinamarca, Colombia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCALLT.2020070103

Abstract

This article reports a qualitative case study about the implementation of a translanguaging strategy with EFL learners belonging to the Language Learning Support programs at a private university, who struggled when speaking in English. In order to address this problem, this strategy aim to help participants to reflect and self-direct their oral performance development. Multimodal tools were used for learners to undertake a specific course of action to cope with their speaking difficulties. Data gathered from tutor's journals, student's e-portfolio and interviews, showed how confidence and self-regulation were fostered after including student's mother tongue and ICT tools. These findings suggest a need to expand this implementation with learners of different proficiency levels who also find it difficult to verbally express their ideas. Moreover, it takes a look at the use of the mother tongue as an advantage rather than as an obstacle to learning a foreign language.
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Introduction

The EFL field is characterized by expansive and diverse approaches and methodologies due to the uniqueness of the countries where this language is taught. Ergo, the inclusion of the mother tongue when teaching and learning a foreign language has received emergent attention worldwide. Moreover, the use and development of translanguaging strategies (understood as the varied support given between two languages in a learning process) and ICT tools that allow for student understanding and embrace of the L2 have been widely explored by both scholars and educators-especially in multilingual contexts such as The United States.

Howbeit, it seems to be an urgent theme to be analyzed in South-American countries such as Colombia, where an asocial and linear view of approaches and methodologies has been embraced, leaving aside individuals’ realities and experiences (Estacio & Camargo, 2018; Ordoñez, 2011). This stems from the widespread belief that an L2 is learned by isolating and assessing skills: receptive-listening and reading- and productive-speaking and writing (Baker, 2011, p. 4).

It is well known that learners’ struggles when communicating both orally and in written form derive from the fact that language is understood from an instrumental perspective rather than from a communicative one. Consequently, the language policies set in this area have restrained the EFL educational process involving use of L2 without considering L1, which has led to negative implications not only for learners, but also for teachers’ professional development and personal and professional identities (Estacio & Camargo, 2018; Ordoñez, 2011).

By the same token, it seems relevant to us to study deeply the development of multimodality tools in the EFL classroom so as to try to cope with some of the difficulties with the aim of going beyond simply digitizing existing content and be able to empower learners throughout their learning process. Therefore, the present study is intended to contribute to the field by reporting on a translanguaging strategy aiming at reflecting and self-directing learners’ oral performance within a monolingual context. Conjointly, it strives to gain a deep understanding of the term translanguaging and the importance of including L1 and ICT tools to foster learners’ metacognitive processes such as confidence and self-regulation.

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