Instructor: Martha Bigelow
Martha Bigelow is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota in Second Languages and Cultures Education. She came to this work after being an English, ESL, and Spanish teacher for many years, including two years in the Dominican Republic in the Peace Corps, and two years in Panama as an English Language Fellow. Dr. Bigelow taught multilingual students in K-12 settings and adults in community and university settings. Currently, she works with graduate students who are in the process of becoming ESL or World Languages teachers. In addition, she works with many MA and PhD students who are learning to be researchers on topics relating to language, culture, and teaching.
Dr. Bigelow's academic interests lie with learning about the cultural, linguistic, and educational experiences of newcomers with limited formal schooling. Most of her research focuses on Somali adolescents who came to the US from refugee camps and have missed many years of formal schooling due to political circumstances out of their control. She has published two books on this topic: Literacy and Second Language Oracy with Elaine Tarone and Kit Hansen, and Mogadishu on the Mississippi: Language, Identity and Education in a New Land.
Her advocacy and public engagement includes serving on boards of immigrant non-profits, teacher development initiatives with schools, and nationwide leadership in education and policy issues relating to teaching immigrant adults with limited formal schooling and low print literacy (e.g., ELL-U.org).