For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop



Martha Bigelow

Ph.D., Georgetown University
second languages and cultures

Tel: 612/624-7087

Office hours:
by appointment

Areas of Expertise

Second language acquisition, schooling experiences of adolescent immigrant youth, preservice language teacher education, multicultural education

Research Summary

My research interests span fields of education, applied linguistics, and cultural studies. While I have focused mainly on the language learning and schooling of adolescent refugees from East Africa, I am deeply invested in the schooling of all language learners as they learn in home, community and school settings. I am also interested in teacher education experiences and classroom pedagogies that support equity and access in education.

Mis intereses en investigación entrecruzan las disciplinas de educación, lingüística aplicada y estudios culturales. Aunque me he enfocado principalmente en el aprendizaje lingüístico y la educación de adolescentes refugiados del este de África, estoy también interesada en la educación de todos los estudiantes de lenguas ya sea en casa, en la comunidad o en la escuela. También me interesan las prácticas educativas de maestros y las pedagogías que buscan la igualdad de oportunidades educativas para todos los jóvenes.

  • The multilingualism and multiliteracy of immigrant and refugee youth
  • El multilingüismo y la multi- alfabetización de los jóvenes inmigrantes y refugiados
  • The role of native and second language literacy in the acquisition of second language oral skills
  • El papel de la alfabetización en la primera y segunda lenguas en la adquisición de la habilidad oral en la segunda lengua.
  • The intersection of race, religion, gender and ethnicity among Somali youth
  • La intersección de raza, religión, género, y etnicidad entre jóvenes somalís
  • Somali youth’s experiences with racialization in school and community settings
  • Las experiencias de los jóvenes somalís con racialización en la escuela y la comunidad
  • The educational needs of adolescent English language learners with limited formal schooling
  • Las necesidades educativas de los jóvenes que están aprendiendo el inglés sin educación formal o una educación formal limitada
  • Making out-of-school connections to classroom learning for immigrant youth (funds of knowledge and culturally relevant pedagogy)
  • Haciendo conexiones entre comunidad/casa y el aula para jóvenes inmigrantes (fondos de conocimiento y pedagogía culturalmente relevante)
  • The role of education policies in access to education for adolescent immigrant youth with limited formal schooling
  • El papel de las políticas educativas para que los jóvenes inmigrantes sin educación o con una educación formal limitada accedan a la educación

Fall 2016 Courses (on Sabbatical Spring 2016)

Fall Semester

  • CI 5651 Foundations of Second Languages and Cultures Education (Tuesdays 4:40 - 7:20)
  • CI 86xx Critical Topics in Second Language Acquisition and Education (time TBA, CI 5628 Analyzing Learner Language in Second Language Acquistion recommended to take before this class)


  • 2011: Multicultural Faculty Award, College of Education and Human Development
  • 2010: Recipient Matthew Stark Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Faculty Award
  • 2008: Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Education and Human Development
  • 2007: Co-recipient of the Heinle & Heinle TESOL Distinguished Research Award for the following paper: Bigelow, M., delMas, R., Hansen, K., & Tarone, E. (2006). Literacy and the processing of oral recasts in SLA. TESOL Quarterly, 40(4), 665-689

Selected Publications

  1. Books

    Bigelow, M., & Ennser-Kananen, J. (Eds.).(2015). Handbook of Educational Linguistics. New York City: Routledge.

  2. Vinogradov, P. & Bigelow, M. (Eds.) (2012). Low Educated Second Language and Literacy and Acquisition, 7th Symposium.  Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Printing Services. Available at

  3. Bigelow, M. (2010). Mogadishu on the Mississippi: Language, racialized identity, and education in a new land. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

  4. Tarone, E., Bigelow, M. & Hansen, K. (2009). Literacy and second language oracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  5. Recent Articles

    Bigelow, M. & King, K. (2014). Somali immigrant youths and the power of print literacy. Writing Systems Research, 6(2), 1-16.

  6. Bigelow, M. (2014). Blending social and cognitive research traditions in language learning and teaching: A matter of mentoring and modeling, pp. 42-47. In J. H. Hulstijn, R. F. Young & L. Ortega (Eds.), Bridging the gap: Cognitive and social approaches to research in language learning and teaching. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 36(3), 1-61.

  7. Ngo, B., Bigelow, M., & Lee, S. (Eds.) (2014). Introduction: What does it mean to do ethical and engaged research with immigrant communities? Special issue: Research with immigrant communities.  Diaspora, Indigenous and Migrant Education, 8(1), 1-6

  8. Bigelow, M. (2011). (Con)texts for cultural and linguistic hybridity among Somali youth. The New Educator, 7(1), 27-43.

  9. Bigelow, M., & Vinogradov, P. (2011). Teaching adult second language learners who are emergent readers. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 120-136.

  10. Bigelow, M. & Ranney, S. (2010). Knowledge about language for teachers is more than knowing grammar rules. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 3(1), 217-228.

  11. Bigelow, M., Wesley, P., & Opsahl, L. (2009). Multicultural education in a K-12 modern language department: Reconciling the professional development experience. International Journal of Multicultural Education.

  12. Bigelow, M., Basford, L., & Smidt, E. (2008).  The academic and social transition to school and the role of native language support.  Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Asian Advancement. (Special on-line issue on Hmong immigrants).

  13. Bigelow, M. (2008). Somali adolescents’ negotiation of religious and racial bias in and out of school. Theory into Practice. Special issue on immigrant education, 47(1), 27-34.

  14. Recent Book Chapters

    Bigelow, M., & King, K. (under review). Learning to read in a new language through peer interaction. In Sato, M., & Ballinger, S. G.  Peer interaction and SLA.  John Benjamins.

  15. Cushing-Leubner, J., & Bigelow, M. (2014). Principled eclecticism and the holistic approach to language teaching and learning. In S. Çelik (Ed.), Approaches and principles in English as a foreign language (EFL) education (pp. 254-263). Ankara, Turkey: Egiten.

  16. Bigelow, M. & Watson, J. (2011). Educational level and L2 learning. In S. Gass & A. Mackey (Eds.) Handbook of second language acquisition (pp.461-475). New York: Routledge/Taylor Francis.

  17. Bigelow, M. (2010). “If you can speak in time, you’re fine”: Preservice teachers learning to plan for a focus on form in content-based instruction. In M. C. Varel, F. J. F. Polo, L. G. García, & I. M. P. Martínez (Eds.), Current Issues in English language teaching and learning. An international perspective (pp. 3-24). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  18. Bigelow, M. (2010). Learning to plan for a focus on form in CBI: The role of teacher knowledge and teaching context. In J. Davies (Ed.), World language teacher education: Transitions and challenges in the twenty-first century (pp. 35-56). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

  19. Vinogradov, P., & Bigelow, M. (2010). Using oral language skills to build on the emerging literacy of adult English learners. CAELA Network Brief.

  20. Bigelow, M., & Schwarz, R. (2010). Adult English language learners with low native and second language print literacy. Paper commissioned by the National Institute for Literacy. Washington, DC.

  21. Bigelow, M. (2002). Effective Instruction for English Language Learners in the K-12 Setting.