Teaching Speakers of English as a Second Language

Silvia Martinez, Ed.D.

February 15, 2007


Speaking from experience as well as expertise, Dr. Silvia Martinez can tell teachers a great deal about students who speak English as a second language (ESL). Born in Puerto Rico, Dr. Martinez earned degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, Harvard University, and Boston University in the fields of speech-language pathology, applied psycholinguistics, and international education. Before coming to Howard, she coordinated a multicultural training program in speech-language pathology at Northeastern University, chaired the Early Childhood Education Department at Roxbury Community College, and taught courses at the University of Massachusetts and George Washington University. At Howard, she teaches courses on language and literacy, phonology, and assessment in the Department of Communication and Culture in the School of Communications.

While teaching, Dr. Martinez has conducted research on second language acquisition, the Spanish language development of immigrant children, and Spanish dialectal variations, with a particular interest in bilingual speech-language pathology. Her research has led her to work for better delivery of services to bilingual, multicultural, and minority populations in clinics and schools in inner cities. In particular, she has sought to improve the health literacy of low-literate Spanish-speaking populations. For instance, she has started developing a website with photonovelas that will inform them about health issues.

A much-sought-after consultant, Dr. Martinez has served as Director of Multicultural Practices and Education at the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). She is currently a consultant on multicultural issues for the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) and the author of related books, articles, and CDs. Through this video, she also seeks to deepen teachers’ understanding of multicultural issues, especially bilingualism in an academic context.

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