My research focuses on high school literacy instruction, predominantly in urban schools. One line of my research explores the design and implementation of grammar and language instruction in English Language Arts classes. I use research from the field of sociolinguistics to study how language and grammar can be taught in accurate, useful, and critical ways. I have worked with multiple teachers to design what we call Critical Language Pedagogy, study its enactment, and study students' responses. This line of research has focused on how African American students perceive dialect diversity, linguistic prejudices, and their own language use, including code-switching and code-meshing. Currently, I am working with Dr. Jeff Reaser on a study of how preservice English teachers develop useful sociolinguistic knowledge that can inform their literacy instruction. This line of research has been funded by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a Spencer Foundation Small Grant.
My second line of research centers on writing instruction in high schools, specifically, how well-designed peer review can help the development of high school students' academic writing across disciplines. I am currently working with Dr. Chris Schunn and Dr. Diane Litman on two related projects: the development of "intelligent scaffolding" tools for an online peer review system to improve high school students’ writing (funded by the Institute for Education Sciences), and the development of an online "ecosystem" for high school science teachers designed to help them support students’ science writing using peer review (funded by the National Science Foundation).