Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor


Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, is co-author of four scholarly books in education: Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre (2010); two editions of Arts-Based Research in Education (2008; second edition, 2018) and Enlivening the Language Classroom with Drama and Improv. A poet, she is also the author of a book of poems, Imperfect Tense, (2016), and currently serves as a Fulbright Ambassador Alum speaking about the power of poetry and theatre in teaching second or additional languages. Winner of four “Big Read” Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Beckman award for “Professors Who Inspire Social Change,” Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg and Anna Davidson poetry prizes, and a Fulbright for nine-month study of adult Spanish language acquisition in Oaxaca Mexico, she is a regular international speaker whose recent engagements include a 2017 Richard Ruiz Fellowship in Guanajuato, Mexico and an invited plenary to the 2018 English Teachers Association of Israel.  A graduate of the New England College low-residency MFA program and the University of Pennsylvania’s Educational Linguistics doctoral program, her poems, essays, and articles about language learning have appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals linked on her blog: http://teachersactup.com She lives in Athens, GA with her husband and two children and their rescue dog, Bagel.

Find her links her articles, books and poetry about teaching and learning second languages and living in multicultural & multilingual community on this website as well as the following academic sites:

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5667-8695

RESEARCH GATE: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Melisa_Cahnmann


Many videos of drama-based second language instruction can be viewed on her Youtube playlists including:

In the beginning…

Since the beginning of her career as a third and fourth grade bilingual elementary educator in South Central, Los Angeles, Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor’s 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. Her scholarship, what she refers to as “scholARTistry,” lies along a continua between languages, cultures, and disciplinary boundaries. She seeks 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.

Her honors and awards include the 2018 U.S. Embassy Keynote Speaking Invitation to the English Teachers Association of Israel; the 2017 Richard Ruiz Resplandor Residency in Guanajuato Mexico; and the 2013-2014 Fulbright TESL Award in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Prior to working with bilingual youth and their families in Georgia, she was a researcher and teacher among Latino communities in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, and Mexico City. 2020 she authors her fifth book on Enlivening the Second Language Classroom Through Drama & Improv Theatre. She trains pre-service TESOL, Foreign Language, and K-12 English Language Arts Teachers and offers courses on Spanish Children’s Literature, Bilingualism and Bilingual Education, Theatre for Reflective Language Teachers, Poetry for Creative Educators, and Translingual Memoir.

The participants featured in the video demonstrations of each theatre game (Inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed work) are students who have taken Dr. Cahnmann-Taylor’s courses and workshops.

*NOTE: All views on this website represent the personal views of Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor and are not posted as representative of the University of Georgia

To read Dr. Cahnmann-Taylor’s research publications, LINK HERE to Research GATE.

En Español

Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor, es profesora de educación, lengua y alfabetización en la Universidad de Georgia. Es autora del poemario Imperfect Tense, (White Point Press, 2016 https://www.amazon.com/Imperfect-Tense-Melisa-Cahnmann-Taylor-ebook/dp/B01HPA9RBA), y varios libros de investigación en el campo de educación, entre ellos: Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre (Teachers College Press, 2010); Arts-Based Research in Education (Routledge, 2008; 2018), y Enlivening Language Education through Drama & Improv (con publicación en curso en Routledge).  Es recipiente de cuatro becas de National Endowment for the Arts (NEA “Big Read”), El Premio Beckman para “Los profesores que inspiran cambios sociales”.  En poesía, ganó los Premios Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg y Anna Davidson, y una beca Fulbright de nueve meses, para investigar el tema del aprendizaje del español entre los adultos, en el estado de Oaxaca, México.  Es oradora en materia de pedagogía y desarrollo de lenguajes artísticos y consultora en lingüística,. Desde el 2005, se ha desempeñado como editora de la revista Anthropology & Humanism, y ha servido como jueza del concurso anual de poesía etnográfica. Actualmente es embajadora Fulbright de los EE.UU. Es graduada del programa MFA Low-Residency del New England College, y del programa de doctorado en educación lingüística de la Universidad de Pensilvania.  Sus poemas, ensayos y artículos sobre el aprendizaje de idiomas se encuentran en su blog: http://teachersactup.com

Cahnmann-Taylor, M. (2020). “dos lunas sobre Tel Aviv”–6 poemas traducidos en  Altazor: Revista electrónica de literatura, 1 (2).  http://www.revistaaltazor.cl/melisa-cahnmann-taylor-2/


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