Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English


Rhetoric and Composition



First Advisor

Lehua Ledbetter


Translingualism (Horner, Lu, Royster, & Trimbur, 2011; Sugiharto, 2015) has received increasing interest in recent years as a way of recognizing and valuing students’ linguistic diversity and of pushing back against language ideology that can disenfranchise minority groups. Composition scholarship has taken on the task of understanding how to implement the translingual paradigm in the writing classroom and has examined the importance of an openness to language difference in reading practices (Gallagher & Noonan, 2017; Horner, 2017) and assessment practices (Kraemer Sohan, 2014; Dryer & Mitchell, 2017) and at translanguaging, or code-meshing, in student writing (Canagarajah, 2011; Lu; Bommarito & Cooney, 2016) and in academic and literary works (Ahmad & Nero, 2012; Horner, 2017). Receiving less discussion are the language practices of college composition instructors. Yet if we understand our language practices to be the embodiment of our language ideology (Tardy, 2011), then the translingual approach would benefit from understanding how writing instructors use language in the classroom. Using semi-structured interviews, this study took a grounded theory approach to examine how instructors understand translingualism and how they perceived and used their own language histories, including multilingual resources, for teaching writing. Even though the instructors of this interview knew languages other than English, they used English predominantly in the classroom. However, they employed their fuller language histories—their experiences with language and language difference as well as their knowledge of multiple languages—in multiple ways to help students develop a translingual orientation, to make visible the diversity and complexity of language practices, and to value students’ own language histories and practices.