Margarita Zisselsberger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Beatty Hall 121-7

Dr. Zisselsberger's CV


Doctor of Philosophy Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Curriculum and Instruction: Language, Learning & Literacy.
Dissertation Title:“The Writing Development of Procedural and Persuasive Genres: A Multiple Case Study of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Fifth Grade Students”

Master of Science in Education
State University of New York at Binghamton
Reading and Literacy.

California CLAD Teaching Credential California State University, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Arts Political Science and Communications
Boston College, Boston, MA.


Margarita Zisselsberger earned her doctoral degree in Language, Learning, and Literacy from Boston College. Her research focuses on the language and literacy development of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners. Current research includes attempts at understanding how classroom contexts play a critical role for CLD students writing development. Recent work has focused on exploring systemic functional linguistics as a theoretical and analytic tool to understand and capture the language features used by diverse CLD students. 

Honors and Awards

National Council of Teacher of English, Cultivating New Voices 2010
National Reading Conference, Outstanding Research Award 2008
Boston College, Dissertation Fellowship Award 2008
Boston College, Summer Dissertation Development Award 2007

Recent Publications

Published and In Press

Zisselsberger, M., Assaf, L., Singh, S. (Spring ’12, in press). Delving into third space: Supporting writing development in multilingual and multicultural settings. Writing and Pedagogy 4 (1).

Secada, W., Zisselsberger, M., Langer-Osuna, J. & Avalos, M. (2011). The linguistic analysis of mathematics textbooks. In M. Setati, T.Nkambule & L. Goosen (Eds.), Proceedings of the ICMI Study 21 Conference: Mathematics education and language diversity, São Paolo, Brazil.

Brisk, M.E. & Zisselsberger, M. (2010). “We’ve Let Them in on the Secret:” Using SFL theory to improve the teaching of writing to bilingual students. In T. Lucas (Ed.), Envisioning possibilities: Preparing all teachers to teach English language learners. New York: Taylor Francis.

Zisselsberger, M. (2009) Performing Persuasion: Culturally and linguistically diverse learners write their script. In K Leander, D.Wells Rowe, D. Dickinson, M. Hundley, R. Jiménez, V. Risko (Eds.), 58th Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 60-65).Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference, Inc.

Recent Presentations

Zisselsberger, M. (2011, December). Resistance and renegotiation in the writing classroom: Making room for peers to co-construct curriculum. Paper presented at the Literacy Research Association, Jacksonville, FL.

Avalos, M., Zisselsberger, M. & Gort, M. (2011, December). “Hey, Today I will tell you about the water cycle!”: Variation of linguistic text features in third grade Science explanation writing. Paper presented at the Literacy Research Association, Jacksonville, FL.

Zisselsberger, M. (2011, November). Validating students’ cultural and linguistic diverse backgrounds in the writing classroom for the annual National Council of Teachers of English conference, Chicago, IL.

Zisselsberger, M. (2011, November). The writing development of procedural and persuasive genres: A multiple case study of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Presented as part of Cultivating New Voices Poster Session at National Council of Teachers of English, Chicago, IL.

Zisselsberger, M. (2010, March). Using Oral Performance to Validate Students’ Multilingual and Cultural Backgrounds in Writing. Interactive paper session presented as part of colloquia titled: Discourse Analysis as a Research Tool to Analyze and Challenge Power Dynamics in K-12 Classrooms for the American Association of Applied Linguistics, Atlanta, GA

Professional Activities/Society Memberships

Cultivating New Voices (2010-2012) 2010-2012 Cohort
Literacy Research Association Member since 2008
National Council for the Teachers of English Member since 2007
American Educational Research Association Member since 2004
American Association of Applied Linguistics Member since 2006
Mass. Assoc. of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages Member since 2008