Language and Literacy in Education Research Cluster

Language and literacy in education is a focal area of research among faculty in the UMBC Department of Education.  While representing a spectrum of topics and theoretical orientations to language and literacy, faculty researchers in the cluster share a commitment to generating knowledge about language and literacy development and practices that foster equitable educational and social opportunities for learners of diverse backgrounds. Following from this, cluster members are also actively engaged with how research can inform classroom practice, teacher education, policy, and advocacy.


Faculty researchers investigate language and literacy in education from multiple vantage points, and they draw upon an array of methods and approaches such as action research, case studies, classroom observation, content analysis, corpus linguistics, (critical) discourse analysis, (critical) ethnography, experimental and quasi-experimental design, grounded theory, interpretive policy analysis, interviewing/focus groups, linguistic landscape analysis, narrative methods (e.g., poetic inquiry and life history), nexus analysis, phenomenology, reflective practitioner research, and survey research.  The intellectual traditions in which cluster members work include constructivism, critical digital literacy, critical race theory/critical whiteness studies, interpretivism, multiliteracies, new literacies studies, poststructuralism, social constructionism, (critical) sociocultural theory, task-based language teaching, and translanguaging.


Zane L. Berge -Training systems, distance education, computer-mediated communication

Francis M. Hult – Discourse studies, educational linguistics, ethnography, language policy and planning, linguistic landscapes, multilingual education, nexus analysis, sociolinguistics, sustainability, and transdisciplinarity

Deborah Kariuki -Computer Science Education; Cyber Security Education; Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum; Professional Development in CS Education; Culturally Responsive Instructions in Computer Science; Instructional Technology

Jiyoon Lee – Learner-centered assessment, language assessment literacy, second language acquisition, teacher education, surveys, interviews, thematic analysis, mixed methods, quasi-experimental design, quantitative research methods

Jennifer Mata-McMahon – Early childhood education; bilingual education; translanguaging; teacher preparation for urban settings; secular spirituality; children’s spirituality; qualitative and mixed research methods, including grounded theory, phenomenological and survey-based designs.

Christopher Rakes – Mathematics education, STEAM education, scientific inquiry in mathematics, education technology, teacher knowledge, teacher preparation and professional development, curriculum development and analysis, culturally responsive mathematics teaching, mixed methods research design, structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling, meta-analysis and systematic review

Shannon Sauro –  Computer-assisted language learning, fanfiction and fan practices, language learning in the digital wilds, task-based language teaching, telecollaboration/virtual exchange 

Sarah J. Shin – Bilingualism, heritage language education, language policy, TESOL methodology, second language writing, academic language

Amy Tondreau – Teachers’ and Students’ Literacy Identities; Critical Literacy; Writing Pedagogy; Professional Learning Communities; Critical Teacher Education; Cross-pollination of Universal Design for Learning and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy in Elementary Literacy Teaching and Learning

Patricia A. Young – Culture in instructional design and technology, the history of instructional design and technologies made by and for African Americans, and culture-specific information and communication technologies


Language, Literacy, and Culture Doctoral Program (LLC)

Students interested in doctoral study on topics related to language and literacy in education can read more about the Language, Literacy, and Culture doctoral program at UMBC.  Individual faculty members also welcome inquiries to discuss prospective students’ research topics.

Literacy in Education During Challenging Times – International Literacy Day
Live Event Recording from September 8, 2020
Please click here for the official flyer 
Please click here for further reading

updated 2021 November 30