Critical sociocultural approaches to language learning and multilingual development; bilingual education; dialogic classroom practices and peer interaction; bilingual/dual language teacher development and teacher professional learning to center multilingual learners’ funds of knowledge

Before joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Melinda Martin-Beltrán earned her PhD in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University.  Her research, teaching and community engagement are rooted in her own multilingual experiences in a transnational family and her experiences teaching in K-12 bilingual settings in the United States and Latin America. As an applied linguist using 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 minoritized multilingual 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. Dr. Martin-Beltrán investigates language learning and literacy development among emergent multilinguals and preparing (in/pre-service) teachers to successfully teach linguistically and culturally diverse students. 

Dr. Martin-Beltrán has served as PI on two grants from the Spencer Foundation focusing on innovative learning/teaching practices that cultivate multilingualism and teacher learning to promote greater educational equity for multilingual learners. She is co-PI on a project funded by the National Science Foundation investigating a model that merges professional learning and parental engagement with a focus on multilingual learners' funds of knowledge and positioning in mathematics classrooms. Dr. Martin-Beltrán has also served as a co-PI on an IES grant focusing on cross-age peer tutoring and multilingual learner vocabulary development, which involved teachers in design-based research and development of bilingual curriculum materials. She was a senior researcher on an i3 grant and a Promise Neighborhood grant working together with immigrant advocacy community organizations focusing on multilingual family engagement in schools. Dr. Martin-Beltrán established Maryland’s first Dual Language Bilingual Education Graduate Certificate program.  Dr. Martin-Beltrán is Associate Director of the Maryland Initiative for Literacy and Equity

Areas of Research:

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


National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship


College of Education Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award

National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

Recent Publications

Martin-Beltrán, M. & Cataneo, A. (2024) Fulfilling Potential and Interrogating Assumptions of Integration: Examining Intergroup Relations in Dual Language Bilingual Education. In J. Freire, C. Alfaro, E. de Jong (Eds). The Handbook of Dual Language Bilingual Education. Routledge.

Martin-Beltrán, M., Durham, C., & Cataneo, A. (2023). Preservice teachers developing humanizing intercultural competence during field-based interactions: Opportunities and challenges. Teaching and Teacher Education124, 104008. 

Budde, C., Marcus, M., Martin-Beltran, M., & Silverman, R. (2022). Exploring the Relationship Between Teacher and Multilingual Student Discourse During Small Group Text-Based Discussions. Language and Literacy24(2), 216-244.

Silverman, R. D., Martin‐Beltrán, M., Peercy, M. M., & Taylor, K. S. (2021). Revisiting Reading Buddies to Support Multilingual Learners and Their Peers. The Reading Teacher. 75(3) p.279-289.

Martin‐Beltrán, M., Montoya‐Ávila, A., & García, A. A. (2020). Becoming advocates: Positioning immigrant youth to share, connect, and apply their stories as tools for social change. TESOL Journal11(4), p.1-20..

Silverman, R. D., Artzi, L., McNeish, D. M., Hartranft, A. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., & Peercy, M. (2019). The relationship between media type and vocabulary learning in a cross age peer-learning program for linguistically diverse elementary school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56, 106-116.

Martin-Beltrán, M., Montoya-Ávila, A., García, A.,Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2019). ‘Time for una pregunta’: Understanding Spanish use and interlocutor response among young English learners in cross-age peer interactions while reading and discussing text. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 22(1), 17-34. 

Martin-Beltrán, M., Guzman, N., M., & Kidwell, T. (2019). Building a community of practice to overcome the marginalization of adolescent language learners. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 32(2), 142-156.

Martin-Beltrán, M., Montoya-Ávila, A., García, A. A., & Canales, N. (2018). “Do you want to tell your own narrative?”: How one teacher and her students engage in resistance by leveraging community cultural wealth. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 12(3), 97-121.

Martin-Beltrán, M., Chen, P. J., Guzman, N. (2018). Negotiating peer feedback as a reciprocal learning tool for adolescent multilingual learners. Writing & Pedagogy.10 (1-2), 1-29. doi: 10.1558/wap.29647

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.


Dual-language teacher learning: Developing dynamic bilingualism, multilingual disciplinary literacies, sociocultural understanding, and critical consciousness. Spencer Foundation. (PI)

Maryland Initiative for Literacy and Equity. Grand Challenge Maryland Institutional Grant. (Co-PI)

Collaborative Research: Parents, Teachers, and Multilingual Children Doing Mathematics Together. National Science Foundation (Co-PI)

Teaching for Equity in Bilingual/Dual Language Immersion Programs (Core course in the Dual Language Bilingual Education PBC program)

Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication for Teaching Multilingual Learners

Research Foundations of Second Language Education: Examining linguistically diverse student learning

Second Language Acquisition

Foundations in Applied Linguistics Research