In an effort to shed light and embrace a holistic and dynamic view of bilingualism, design a language and culture portrait as described in Dr. Tian’s “Crafting Translanguaging Spaces” presentation. A language and culture portrait is a visualization of a person’s linguistic and cultural identity that involves (1) identifying the languages/cultures that are part of one’s identity, (2) assigning each language or culture a color, and (3) mapping those colors onto the image of a body silhouette. Colors can be mapped onto the body outline literally or symbolically.
For instance, a student might map “Mandarin” onto their mouth if it is the primary language that they speak . Or, they might map “Spanish” onto their feet to demonstrate that speaking Spanish has enabled them to travel to countries where Spanish is spoken .
Summary of a Language and Culture Portrait Assignment Process
Step 1: View Dr. Tian’s “Crafting Translanguaging Spaces”.
Step 2: Make a list of all the languages and cultures that are part of who you are.
Step 3: Assign each language and culture a different color.
Step 4: Use a body silhouette and color the body with the colors that correspond to your languages and cultures based on how you experience them. I.E coloring your hand the language(s) that you write with and coloring your heart a language/culture that connects you to those you love.
Step 5: Include a 1-2 page reflection to share and explain your language and culture portrait.
Consider answering the following:
What have you learned about yourself after completing this assignment?
What are the benefits of creating a language and culture portrait with your students?
How might this activity create a powerful opportunity for culturally and linguistically diverse students to affirm their translanguaging capabilities and multifaceted identities and experiences?