Skip to content Skip to navigation

Poetry and the arts can open doors to literacy and second language acquisition that will transform not only students, but their teachers as well.

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Ph.D.


My classes don’t look like the normal college lecture class. My students are active, engaged and present. We work together with integrated arts activities to discover the hidden concepts and ways of bringing global literacies to students.

This year, I’ve been named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Alumni Ambassador by the Fulbright Scholar Program. 13 ambassadors were selected from more than 160 applications. The term began in July and lasts two years.

I also served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Oaxaca, Mexico, in the 2013-2014 school year investigating American adult Spanish language acquisition.  Since the beginning of my career as a bilingual elementary educator in South Central, Los Angeles, my professional and personal pursuits have been to understand the complexities of U.S. bilingual, TESOL and world language education and the intersections between language, culture, identity, class and power. My scholarship, what I refer to as “scholARTistry,” lies along a continua between languages, cultures and disciplinary boundaries. I seek a complex, creative and humanistic approach to teacher training and research in teacher education, one which honors lived experience and cultivates the potential for cross-cultural dialogue and deep listening in the classroom, workroom, staff development center and university.

Prior to working with bilingual youth and their families in Georgia, I was a researcher and teacher among Latino communities in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Mexico City. I am the author of two books, numerous articles and poetry about language learning and teacher education. I train pre-service TESOL, Foreign Language and K-12 English Language Arts teachers and offer courses on Spanish children’s literature, bilingualism and bilingual education, theatre for reflective language teachers, poetry for creative educators and translingual memoir.

Learn more about Melisa Cahnmann.