Creative translanguaging in formative assessment: Chinese teachers’ perceptions and practices in the primary EFL classroom

Vincent Troy Greenier* (Corresponding Author), Liu Xiaohua* (Corresponding Author), Yangyu Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In Chinese primary EFL classrooms, translanguaging between English and Chinese is commonly used by teachers and students out of need for efficient communication, however, this practice has been and is still widely believed to hinder students’ English development. Although recent studies have revealed the benefits translanguaging offers for teaching and learning, little has been done to understand teachers’ perceptions and use of a translanguaging pedagogy in their formative assessment practices, which is expected to play a more important role than before in China’s primary education due to recent policy reform. To close this gap, this exploratory study conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 Chinese primary EFL teachers, who are varied in their geographical location and teaching experience. Adopting an abductive thematic analysis approach, data analysis aimed at understanding how translanguaging was used to facilitate the implementation of formative assessment. Through the lens of creativity, three essential types of translanguaging practices – translanguaging for meaning-making (through preparation and expansion), collaboration, and empowerment – were identified, which have the potential to facilitate different procedures of formative assessment by accelerating understanding and expression, stimulating critical thinking and exploration, maintaining interest and engagement, and promoting autonomy and peer learning.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalApplied Linguistics Review
Early online date25 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2023

Data Availability Statement

The datasets generated and analyzed during the
current study are available from the lead and corresponding authors on request.


  • creativity
  • formative assessment
  • primary EFL in China
  • translanguaging


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