Reimagining the language of disability and inclusion in primary teacher education through a translanguaging framework

Thu Thi Thu Thuy Luong, Tiana Dinh Nguyen Trang Thu, Mary-Rose Puttick, Carolyn Blackburn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Whilst words such as ‘disability’ and ‘inclusion’ have some shared meanings across cultural and linguistic contexts, they also have meanings that are fluid and changing according to individual, institutional, and environmental dimensions. Deconstructing these differential understandings in special education needs and disabilities (SEND) provision is essential to challenge deeply-rooted societal deficit-based assumptions and stigmatisation that can have detrimental impacts on children and young people’s life experiences. In this UK-Vietnam collaborative project we aimed to uncover the ‘languaging of disability and inclusion’, using Vietnamese primary teacher education as an illustrative case study with experiential insights gathered from primary school teachers, leaders and teacher educators. This paper presents findings from our six in-depth interviews. Our analytical framework, informed by key concepts in translanguaging and affective pedagogies, enables us to uncover nuances in meanings that went beyond solely Vietnamese-English linguistic translations, to take account of semiotic understandings, body language, and movement. Key findings revealed a prevailing medical-based terminology associated with SEND, practice-based contradictions attached to bureaucratic recognitions of disability, as well as repertoires associated with ‘circles of friendship’. Our paper opens up an international dialogue that both challenges potentially homogenising and harmful labelling processes and celebrates the sharing of asset-based languaging practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPractice: Contemporary Issues in Practitioner Education
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 7 Jun 2023


    • Special educational needs and disabilities
    • inclusion
    • translanguaging
    • repertoires
    • labelling
    • teacher education


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