Translanguaging and teacher authority


  • Dr. Katie Brubacher University of Alberta
  • Sarah Harper University of Alberta



translanguaging, dialogue, Freire, peer support, liminal spaces


The purpose of the paper is to understand the connection between teacher authority and children’s language use. The data presented here was pulled from two large data sources: a set of case-studies in Grades 4 to 6 classrooms with multilingual children who were new to Canada and learning to read and write for the first time and qualitative research in a teacher education program preparing teacher candidates to educate multilingual students. Findings suggest that children translanguage in liminal spaces outside of the teachers’ authority and that multilingual students that were asked to translanguage in English authority classrooms had negative experiences.

Author Biographies

Dr. Katie Brubacher, University of Alberta

Dr. Katie Brubacher is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta; however, she completed the fieldwork while a graduate student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Katie has recently left her career as a teacher of almost twenty years working with multilingual children in the Ontario elementary schools to work in teacher education. Her research focuses both on children who are new to Canada and learning to read and write for the first time beyond the primary years as well as teacher education for working with multilingual students in K to 12.

Sarah Harper, University of Alberta

Sarah Harper is an artist, museum educator, and researcher focused on heritage museums and community arts institutions. She is a scholar from Arkansas. She attended the University of North Texas to study art and museum education and is currently pursuing a PhD with the University of Alberta. Her work has explored topics including how teaching challenging arts skills benefits low-income students and how the unique strengths-based hiring practices of smaller heritage museums can benefit larger arts institutions. Her current research examines how community arts programming that highlights language, communication and cultures can benefit newcomers to Canada.




How to Cite

Brubacher, K., & Harper, S. (2024). Translanguaging and teacher authority. Language and Literacy, 26(2), 3–17.