Texts, talk and technology: the literacy practices of bilingually-educated students


  • Paul Molyneux The University of Melbourne
  • Renata Aliani The University of Melbourne


Bilingual students. Literacy practices. Multiliteracies


It is widely recognized that to be literate in today’s world requires conscious, creative and critical deployment of language (and other semiotic devices) for different social purposes, contexts and audiences (FREEBODY & LUKE, 1990, 2003). This notion of literacy as social practice (BARTON & HAMILTON, 2000; STREET, 1995) has been extended to include the idea of multiliteracies (NEW LONDON GROUP, 1996; KALANTZIS & COPE, 2012), in recognition of the roles technology and digital text use and production play in young people’s lives. However, the literacy practices of primary school-aged students, as they enact them in their daily in-school and out-of-school lives, remain underinvestigated. This is particularly the case with bilingually-educated students whose literacy practices, involving texts, talk and technology, are deployed across languages. The research reported here investigated the literacy practices and language use of 68 students at three primary schools in Melbourne, Australia. Each of these schools offered bilingual programs to their students (involving instruction in Mandarin Chinese or Vietnamese, along with English). Data collected through individually administered questionnaires and small group interviews reveal these students live highly multilingual lives, where sophisticated linguistic choices and translanguaging are part of both their in-school and out-of-school lives. The research revealed that direct connections are made between the languages learned at school and personal, family and community literacy practices. As such, the students were found to attach high levels of importance to becoming biliterate, and powerfully attest to the linguistic, educational, social and functional benefits of bilingualism and a bilingual education. The research findings provide valuable insights into bilingual and multilingual practices involving texts, talk and technology. This article posits that bilingual education, as implemented at the three research sites, enhances students’ learning and their sense of personal identity, as well as affording them skills and understandings they deploy in their own increasingly technology-mediated lives.


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Como Citar

MOLYNEUX, P.; ALIANI, R. Texts, talk and technology: the literacy practices of bilingually-educated students. Trabalhos em Linguística Aplicada, Campinas, SP, v. 55, n. 2, p. 263–291, 2016. Disponível em: https://periodicos.sbu.unicamp.br/ojs/index.php/tla/article/view/8647396. Acesso em: 17 out. 2021.