For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Martha Bigelow

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Ph.D., Georgetown University
Second Languages Education

Tel: 612-624-7087

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Download Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Areas of Interest

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



Research Interests

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.

  • The multilingualism and multiliteracy of immigrant and refugee youth
  • The role of native and second language literacy in the acquisition of second language oral skills
  • The intersection of race, religion, gender and ethnicity among Somali youth
  • Somali youth’s experiences with racialization in school and community settings
  • The educational needs of adolescent English language learners with limited formal schooling
  • Making out-of-school connections to classroom learning for immigrant youth (funds of knowledge and culturally relevant pedagogy)
  • The role of education policies in access to education for adolescent immigrant youth with limited formal schooling


  • Associate Editor, Modern Language Journal

  • American Association for Applied Linguistics



  • 2018: Harold B. Allen Award, MinneTESOL
  • 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

    Warriner, D., & Bigelow, M. (Eds.) (2019). Critical reflections on research methods: Power and equity in complex multilingual contexts. Bristol, Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters.

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

    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

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

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

  2. Recent Articles

    King, K., & Bigelow, M. (2018). East African transnational adolescents and the symbolic meaning of place: An argument for local international learning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 38, 187-193. #Vanek, J., King, K., & Bigelow, M. (2018). Social presence and identity: Facebook in an English language classroom. Journal of Language, Identity & Education. DOI: 10.1080/15348458.2018.1442223.

    King, K., Bigelow, M., & Hirsi, A. (2017). New to school and new to print: Everyday peer interaction among adolescent high school newcomers. International Multilingual Research Journal: Special Issue entitled Exploring Peer Interaction among Multilingual Youth: New Possibilities and Challenges for Language and Literacy Learning. DOI: 10.1080/19313152.2017.1328958

    Bigelow, M., Vanek, J., King, K., & Abdi, N. (2017). Literacy as social (media) practice: Refugee youth and home language literacy at school. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Special issue: Cultural and Academic Adjustment of Refugee Youth in Educational Settings.

    Ennser-Kananen, J., Escobar, C. F., & Bigelow, M. (2017). “It’s practically a must”: Neoliberal reasons for foreign language learning. International Journal of Society, Culture & Language, 5(1), 15-28.

    King, K. & Bigelow, M. (2016). The language policy of placement tests for newcomer English learners. Educational Policy, 1-33. DOI: 10.1177/0895904816681527

    Fallas Escobar, C., Ennser-Kananen, J., & Bigelow, M. (2016) Monetary and career based motives at the core of EFL programs: Problems and solutions/Programas de Inglés como lengua extranjera basados en fundamentos económicos y profesionales: Problemas y soluciones. GIST Education and Learning Research Journal, 12, 152-173.

    Cushing-Leubner, J., Bigelow, M., Ortega, L., Pergament, S., Adam, K., Hang, M., Susens, S., Prifrel, R., & Allen, M. (2015). Promoting resilience in diverse classrooms: The answers are not in the back of the book. MinneTESOL Journal.

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

  3. Recent Book Chapters

    King, K. & Bigelow, M. (in press). Multilingual education policy, superdiversity, and directions for educational equity. In A. Creese, & A. Blackledge, (vol. eds.) M. Cooke, & J. Simpson (section eds.), The Routledge handbook of language and superdiversity.

    Bigelow, M., & King, K. (2016). Peer interaction while learning to read in a new language. In M. Sato, & S. G. Ballinger (eds).  Peer interaction and second language learning (pp. 349-375).  Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

    Bigelow, M. & Pettitt, N. (2015). Narratives of ethical dilemmas with immigrants with limited formal schooling.  In DeCosta, P. Ethics in applied linguistics research: Language researcher narratives (pp. 66-82). New York City: Routledge.

  4. 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.

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