Translanguaging as a strategy for group work: Summary writing as a measure for reading comprehension among university students
Multilingualism has been regarded to be an academic disadvantage to students. Consequently, multilingual students have been a source of concern for most lecturers because of their perceived low academic proficiency in reading and comprehending academic texts written in English. This paper reports on a research study conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of using a translanguaging approach to assist students in understanding texts. Through discussion of the main ideas from the text in their own languages participants of the treatment group showed an improved understanding of the text, evidenced by the summaries they produced. The results show that instead of insisting on the monolingual use of English in reading instruction, it can be suggested that encouraging students to identify the main idea and overall meaning of texts should be at the heart of L2 reading instruction. This can be done by allowing students to translanguage during class/ group discussions where meaning will be negotiated until the main ideas are understood.