For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Martha Bigelow

Ph.D., Georgetown University
Second Languages Education

Tel: 612-624-7087

Office hours:
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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.

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 2017 Courses

  • CI 5656  Teaching Literacy in Second Language Classrooms (Thursdays 4:40 - 7:20)
  • CI 5628 Analyzing Learner Language in Second Language Acquisition (Wednesdays 4:40 – 7:20)
  • CI 8161 Research Experience I: Study Design and Planning (Wednesdays 9:30 – 12:00)


  • 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.) (in progress). Relationships, Reciprocity and Research in Complex Contexts: Critical Reflections on Methods, Power and Equity. 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., & 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.

    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.

    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

  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.