Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Ofelia García

Committee Members

Kate Menken

Nicholas Michelli

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Methods | Language and Literacy Education | Secondary Education


translanguaging, emergent bilingual, english language learner, bilingual education, critical pedagogy, middle school


Dual language bilingual education (DLBE) programs in New York City largely follow a 50-50 model: half of the instruction is in English while the other half is in another target language. In NYC, as well as the rest of the country, these programs are typically English-Spanish due to the large Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. Bilingual programs also tend to strictly separate languages and often insist that teachers and students only use the designated language according to the school or district’s particular language allocation policy.

This qualitative case study challenges the strict separatist language model of some dual language bilingual education classrooms. It examines an instructional unit of study designed to raise students’ socio-political consciousness by highlighting immigration policies and using multimodal texts. At the same time, the unit provides spaces for students to engage in translanguaging practices regardless of the designated target language of the week. It analyses how students take up translanguaging practices in the various lessons described, and engages in an examination of students’ views about bilingualism and translanguaging. The central argument is that without the flexible languaging spaces that translanguaging pedagogy affords, we cannot attain educational equity for all emergent bilingual students. Additionally, because students’ language proficiencies lie on various points of the bilingual spectrum, a language flexible environment is critical in order to make learning accessible to all students.