sociocultural approaches to second language acquisition focusing on dual language learners (ESOL students), peer interaction, language exchange, and teacher learning to build upon students' linguistic and cultural diversity

Before joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Melinda Martin-Beltran earned her PhD in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University and worked as a bilingual and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher in K-12 settings in the United States and Latin America.  As a teacher educator and applied linguist using anthropological and sociocultural approaches, Dr. Martin-Beltran has studied classroom practices and contexts that build upon the cultural and linguistic diversity of students in order to increase educational equity for language-minority students. Her research seeks to understand ways that learners (both students and teachers) engage in the co-construction of knowledge and the social processes of learning. She has led a research project examining the Language Ambassadors program for English learners and Spanish learners in high school, funded by the Spencer foundation and the National Academy of Education Postdoctoral fellowship. She was co-PI on a federally funded project developing a cross-age, peer tutoring reading program to support vocabulary development and reading comprehension of younger and older English learners in elementary schools. Dr. Martin-Beltran also works with CASA de Maryland as part of a Promise Neighborhood Grant funded by the Department of Education.

For more information and for samples of work, please visit her homepage:

Areas of Research:

  • Dual-language/bilingual/multilingual classroom contexts
  • Peer interaction and language exchange
  • Translanguaging, multilingual and multimodal literacies
  • English language learners and literacy development
  • Equity in linguistically diverse classrooms
  • Preparing teachers to build upon students’ linguistic and cultural diversity
  • Collaboration between ESOL and mainstream teachers

Martin-Beltrán, M. (2017). Exploring peer interaction among multilingual youth: New possibilities and challenges for language and literacy learning International Multilingual Research Journal. doi:10.1080/19313152.2017.1328968

Martin-Beltrán, M., Daniel, S., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2017). Developing a zone of relevance: Emergent bilinguals’ use of social, linguistic, and cognitive support in peer-led literacy discussions. International Multilingual Research Journal. doi:10.1080/19313152.2017.1330061

Martin-Beltrán, M., Tigert, J., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2017). Using digital texts vs. paper texts to read together: Insights into engagement and mediation of literacy practices among linguistically diverse students. International Journal of Educational Research82, 135-146.

Martin-Beltrán, M., Guzman, N., & Chen, P. (2017). ‘Let's think about it together:’ How teachers differentiate discourse to mediate collaboration among linguistically diverse students. Language Awareness, 26(1), 41-58.

Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., Yazan, B., & DeStefano, M. (2017). “Jump in any time”: How teacher struggle with curricular reform generates opportunities for teacher learning. Action in Teacher Education

Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M., M., Hartranft, A., McNeish, D.  Artzi, L., & Nunn, S. (2017). Effects of a cross-age peer learning program on the vocabulary and comprehension of ELs and Non-ELs in elementary school. Elementary School Journal, 117(3)485-512.

Selvi, A. & Martin-Beltrán, M. (2016). Teacher-learners’ engagement in the re-conceptualization of second language acquisition knowledge through inquiry. System. 63, 28-39. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2016.08.006

Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., Silverman, R. D., & Nunn, S. J. (2015). “Can I ask a question?”:  ESOL and mainstream teachers engaging in distributed and distributive learning to support English language learners’ text comprehension. Teacher Education Quarterly, 42(4), 33-58.

Daniel, S. M., Martin‐Beltrán, M., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. (2015). Moving Beyond Yes or No: Shifting From Over‐Scaffolding to Contingent Scaffolding in Literacy Instruction With Emergent Bilingual Students. TESOL Journal.  doi: 10.1002/tesj.213

Daniel, S. M., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. (2015). Moving Beyond Yes or No: Shifting From Over-Scaffolding to Contingent Scaffolding in Literacy Instruction With Emergent Bilingual Students. TESOL Journal.  doi: 10.1002/tesj.213

Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltran, M., Silverman, R. D., & Daniel, S. M. (2015).Curricular design and implementation as a site of teacher expertise and learning. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 21(7), 867-893.

Martin-Beltran, M. (2014).  What do you want to say?  How adolescents use translanguaging to expand learning opportunities. International Journal of Multilingual Research, 8, 208-230.

Martin-Beltran, M. & Peercy, M.M. (2014). Collaboration to teach English language learners: Opportunities for shared teacher learning. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice. doi:10.1080/13540602.2014.885704.

Martin-Beltran (2013) I don’t feel as embarrassed because we’re all learning: Discursive positioning among adolescents becoming multilingual. International Journal of Educational Research. 62, 152–161.doi: 10.1016/j.ijer.2013.08.005.

Martin-Beltran, M. & Chen, P. (2013) Mediating Feedback in an Online Writing Tutorial. Academic Exchange Quarterly. 17(1),145-150. 

Adawu, A. & Martin-Beltran, M. (2012) Points of transition: Understanding the constructed identities of L2 learners/users across time and space. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies: An International Journal. 9(4):1–25. doi: 10.1080/15427587.2012.664038

Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. & Selvi, A. (2012) Collaboration to teach elementary English Language Learners: ESOL and mainstream teachers confronting challenges through shared tools and vision. In Honigsfeld, A. & Dove, M. (Eds.) Co-teaching and Other Collaborative Practices in the EFL/ESL Classroom: Rationale, Research, Reflections, and Recommendations. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Martin-Beltran, M. (2012). How do teachers participate, mediate, and intervene in the co-construction of language knowledge during learner interactions? In Yon & Bo (Eds.), Teachers' Roles in Second Language Learning: Classroom Applications of Sociocultural Theory. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Martin-Beltran, M. (2012). Bilingual Charter Schools. In Banks, J. & Banks, C. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education. New York: Sage Publications.

Martin-Beltran, M. & Hickey, P. (2012). English Language Learners, Teacher Preparation for Diversity. In Banks, J. & Banks, C. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education. New York: Sage Publications.

Martin-Beltran & Peercy, M. (2012) How can ESOL and Mainstream Teachers Make the Best of a Standards-based Curriculum to Collaborate? TESOL Journal 3(3), 425-444. doi: 10.1002/tesj.23

Peercy, M & Martin-Beltran, M. (2011) Envisioning collaboration:  Including ESOL students and teachers in the mainstream classroom. International Journal of Inclusive Education.doi:10.1080/13603116.2010.495791

Martin-Beltran, M. (2010) Positioning proficiency: How students and teachers (de)construct language proficiency at school. Linguistics and Education.21(4), 257-281.

Martin-Beltran, M. (2010). The two-way language bridge: Co-constructing bilingual language learning opportunities. The Modern Language Journal. 94(2), 254-277.

Martin-Beltran, M. (2010). Developing cross-cultural competence through observation and dialogic teacher inquiry. In G. Park, H. Widodo, & A. Cirocki (Eds.), Observation of Teaching: Bridging Theory and Practice through Research on Teaching. Munich:Lincom Europa.

Billings, E., Martin-Beltran, M., & Hernandez, A. (2010) Beyond English development: Bilingual approaches to teaching immigrant students and English Learners. In C. Faltis & G. Valdes (Eds.) National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook: Education, Immigrant Students. Refugee Students, and English Learners. New York: Teachers College Press.

Martin-Beltran, M. (2009). Cultivating space for the language boomerang: The interplay of two languages as academic resources. English Teaching: Practice and Critique. 8(2), 25-53.



  • Research Foundations of Second Language Education: Examining linguistically diverse student learning
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Teaching for Cross-Cultural Communication
  • Foundations in Applied Linguistics Research
  • Cross-cultural Communication for Teaching English Language Learners