Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Dr. Theresa Catalano

Date of this Version

Spring 5-19-2023


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate School at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching Curriculum and Learning) Under the Supervision of Professor Theresa Catalano. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2023

Copyright © 2023 Alessia Barbici-Wagner


Increased global migration and a myriad of other social and political factors has made today’s universities more diverse than ever. As a result, teachers in higher education regularly find multilingual learners from a variety of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds in their classrooms and must consider this diversity in their teaching. One of the ways that teaching can better serve today’s multilingual and multicultural student population is through translanguaging. The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the intentional and unintentional use of translanguaging by multilingual language learners and world language instructors in higher education. Additionally, this qualitative case study aims to explore the perceptions of both teachers and students towards translanguaging, using transformative interviewing to prompt participants to reflect on their own language learning ideologies and the application of translanguaging pedagogies to their teaching and learning. Findings point to numerous ways in which both teachers and students in world language university classrooms use translanguaging to make meaning during their language teaching and learning experiences. In addition, class observations and transformative interviews showed how participants gained reflective self-awareness and began to reconsider more/different ways in which translanguaging could enrich their teaching and learning. The significance of the study lies in a greater understanding of what translanguaging could look like in world language higher education settings, particularly regarding the way in which more inclusive language pedagogies such as translanguaging can allow teachers to recognize and utilize the full linguistic repertoire of their multilingual students while at the same time navigating tensions related to target language use and time constraints.

Advisor: Theresa Catalano