Christina L. Dobbs

Assistant Professor

Christina Dobbs is an Assistant Professor in English Education. Her research interests include academic language development, the argumentative writing of students, and professional development for secondary content teachers. She has authored a variety of publications on these topics, following the completion of her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is highly engaged in SED efforts focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion. She has served as an adjunct instructor at Lesley University, Hunter College, Simmons College, and Salem State University and as a consultant for the Cambridge Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, and Concord School District in New Hampshire. She served as the Manuscripts Editor for the Harvard Educational Review, and she edited a volume titled Humanizing Education: Critical Alternatives to Reform. She is a former high school teacher in Houston, Texas, as well as a literacy coach and reading specialist.

Ed. D., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Human Development and Education, 2013

M. Ed., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Language and Literacy, 2006

B. A., Texas A&M University, English, 2000

EN501/701: Methods in Teaching Classic and Contemporary Texts

EN512/712: Methods in Teaching Writing

TL525: Teaching English Language Learners in Secondary Classrooms

CAS/SED EN535: Teaching American Literature

Dr. Dobbs' research program takes a fine-grained approach to looking at how students explicitly use academic language in their persuasive essays. The current dataset is one of the largest ever assembled for close study at the middle school level, studying approximately 750 essays on a variety of topics written by 179 middle graders over the course of a supplemental vocabulary intervention. The studies being conducted analyze this data closely for a variety of language features ranging from word-level to discourse-level structures, providing us with heretofore unknown information about students' writing development.

Read more about Dr. Dobbs' research.

Dobbs, C. L. & Kearns, D. (forthcoming). Using new vocabulary in writing: Exploring how word and learner characteristics relate to the likelihood that writers use newly taught vocabulary. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Dobbs, C. L., Ippolito, J., & Charner-Laird, M. (forthcoming). Layering intermediate and disciplinary literacy work: Lessons learned from a secondary social studies teacher team. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

Charner-Laird, M., Ippolito, J., & Dobbs, C. L. (forthcoming). The roles of teacher leaders in guiding PLCs focused on disciplinary literacy. Journal of School Leadership.

Ippolito, J., Dobbs, C. L., Charner-Laird, M., & Lawrence, J. F. (2016). Delicate layers of learning: Achieving disciplinary literacy requires continuous, collaborative adjustment.  JSD: Learning Forward, 37(2), 34-38.

Uccelli, P., Galloway, E. P., Barr, C., D., Meneses, A., & Dobbs, C. L. (2015).  Beyond vocabulary: Exploring cross-disciplinary academic language proficiency and its association with reading comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(3), 337-356.

Baron, C. & Dobbs, C. L. (2014).  Expanding the notion of historical text through historic building analysis.  Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 58(6), 462-471.

Dobbs, C. L. (2014).  Signaling organization and stance:  Measuring the use of academic language markers in middle grade persuasive writing.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27(8), 1327-1352.

Uccelli, P., Barr, C. D., Dobbs, C. L., Galloway, E. P., Meneses, A., & Sánchez, E. (2014).  Core academic language skills (CALS): An expanded operational construct and a novel instrument to chart school-relevant language proficiency in pre-adolescent and adolescent learners.  Applied Psycholinguistics, 36(5), 1-33.

Ippolito, J., Dobbs, C. L., & Charner-Laird, M. (2014).  Bridge builders: Teacher leaders forge connections and bring coherence to literacy initiatives. JSD: Learning Forward, 35(3), 22-26.

Charner-Laird, M., Ippolito, J., Dobbs, C. L. (2014).  Teacher-led professional learning.  Harvard Education Letter, 30(5).

Dobbs, C. L. (2013). Vocabulary in practice: A three-part approach to language learning in classrooms. In J. Ippolito, J. F. Lawrence, & C. Zaller (Eds.) Getting to the Core of Adolescent Literacy.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard Educational Publishing Group.

Uccelli, P., Dobbs, C. L., & Scott, J. (2013).  Mastering academic language:  Organization and stance in the persuasive writing of high school students.  Written Communication, 30(1), 36-62.

Brion-Meisels, G., Cooper, K. S., Deckman, S., Dobbs, C. L., Francois, C., Nikundiwe, T., & Shalaby, C. (Eds.)  (2010).  Humanizing education: Critical alternatives to reform. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard Education Press.

Dobbs, C. L., Ippolito, J., & Charner-Laird, M. (2016). When a professional learning action space closes, does teacher professional capacity survive?  Presented at the American Educational Research Association, Washington, D.C.

Charner-Laird, M., Ippolito, J., & Dobbs, C. L. (2016). Framing professional learning of disciplinary literacy practices of adult development work.  Presented at the American Educational Research Association, Washington, D.C.

Dobbs, C. L., Ippolito, J., & Charner-Laird, M. (2015).  Bringing disciplinary literacy into STEM classrooms:  Findings from a collaborative, inquiry-focused professional development.  Presented at the Literacy Research Association, Carlsbad, CA.

Dobbs, C. L., Ippolito, J. & Charner-Laird, M. (2015).  Scaling up professional learning: Technical expectations and adaptive challenges.  Presented at the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Baron, C. & Dobbs, C. L. (2015).  Expanding the notion of historical text through historical building analysis.  Presented at the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Charner-Laird, M., Ippolito, J. & Dobbs, C. L. (2015).  Teacher leaders: Bringing an inquiry focus to PLC conversations.  Presented at the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Charner-Laird, M., Ippolito, J., & Dobbs, C. L. (2014).  Learners as leaders:  Teacher leadership as an essential component of team-based professional development.  Presented at the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

Dobbs, C. L. & Kearns, D. (2014).  Using newly taught words in writing:  How instructional exposures and word characteristics predict correct uses of written words.  Presented at Writing Research Across Borders, Paris, France.

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