Melanie Carbine is a third-year doctoral student studying Literacy, Culture, and Language Education in the College of Education. After teaching middle school math in Maryland for 10 years, Carbine recognized the need for teachers to be versed in multilingual education practices.
I had a lot of English language learners, or emerging multilingual students in my math class,” Carbine says. “I was witnessing what was happening with my students. They were trapped in different classes because they’re multilingual, because they're language learners.”
Carbine’s graduate level research at Iowa focuses on heritage language speakers. While there is not one clear definition of a heritage language speaker, it can refer to a student whose first language includes the language of instruction, for example, a student whose first language includes Spanish in a Spanish language class. It can also refer to a student whose first language is English, but they grew up in a family environment surrounded by the non-English instructional language. Carbine’s advisor, Dr. David Cassels Johnson, describes the nature of their shared research.