Use of trans-language in the Foreign Language Class

What is trans-language?

Well, it’s a mix of languages! It’s a communication process where the speakers uses several languages!

Why is this useful?

We don’t want to wait for a speaker to be perfect to start speaking! Trans-language is the promotion of communication and expression by using creative ways to make meaning and share ideas.

This is an excellent tool to contribute in a foreign language class because the students are still learning and still making connections to the target language they are learning.

How might we use trans-language in a foreign language class?

I personally like to use trans-language when I have to incorporate instructions or make connections between the content and the IB Learner profile and Approaches to Learning. As I started to use the “Split Screen” strategy, I incorporated trans-language to talk about the meta-language!

The split screen is something I learn during a PD day in my school. It might come from Kath Murdoch’s work on inquiry. Basically, the Split Screen is a way to visually and intentionally show how a specific content we are teaching relates to the “How” (ATLs, Learner profile). For example, in my French class, I write on the board what we might do during the lesson:

Mindfulness Mediation

Creation of ebooks

Exit ticket


If I do a split screen, I might add another column and, with the students, break down the skills we might call for to engage in the different tasks.

Mindfulness Mediation ——————-Learner profiles: open-minded, principled, balanced.

Creation of ebooks ——————— ATLs: Communication

Exit ticket ————————— Reflection about my learning


The Split Screen can be in trans-language or the oral explanation of it could be.


I hope this is useful to some of you 🙂

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