Deb Palmer
Equity, Bilingualism & Biliteracy • BUENO Center

Fleming Building, Room 300G
University of Colorado Boulder
249 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309

I am a Professor in the program in Equity, Bilingualism and Biliteracy in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. I was a two-way dual language teacher in Redwood City, CA prior to entering the Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley in Language, Literacy and Culture in Education in 1999. I conduct qualitative research using ethnographic and discourse analytic methods in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. My interests include bilingual education policy and politics; critical additive bilingual education; teacher preparation for linguistically and culturally diverse teaching contexts; language, power and identity; and bilingual teacher leadership/agency. I led study abroad programs for education students at the University of Texas at Austin to Cuernavaca, Mexico in 2007, and to Antigua, Guatemala in 2013 and 2015. I am currently working on a book for Multilingual Matters based on the experiences of master bilingual teachers in Proyecto Maestría, a National Professional Development Project that I directed in Austin Texas from 2007 to 2013. 

Soy Profesora del programa de Equidad, Bilingüismo y Bi-literacidad​ en la Facultad de Educación de la Universidad de Colorado Boulder. Anteriormente fui maestra de educación bilingüe de lenguaje dual en California, ahora llevo a cabo investigaciones cualitativas usando métodos de etnografía y análisis de discurso en contextos de diversidad lingüística. Mis intereses incluyen la educación bilingüe, el lenguaje dual, y la política y pedagogía de la enseñanza de estudiantes emergentes bilingües en escuelas públicas; la preparación de docentes para escuelas diversas; el lenguaje, el poder y la identidad; disposición y liderazgo de docentes bilingües.

Ph.D. (2004) Education in Language, Literacy and Culture, University of California, Berkeley, CA

M.A. (2000) Education in Language, Literacy and Culture, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Bilingual/Cross-cultural Language in Academic Development Supplement (BCLAD) (1996) 

California Multiple Subject K-12 Teaching Credential (1992) Mills College, Oakland CA. (renewed to 2023)

B.A. (1991) Anthropology with Humanities Honors, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Full CV


Henderson, K. & Palmer, D. (2020) Dual language bilingual education: Teacher cases and perspectives on large-scale implementation. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Palmer, D. (2018) Teacher leadership for social change in bilingual/bicultural education. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.


Degollado, E.D., Palmer, D., Urrieta, L., Bybee, E., Kehoe, S., Menard-Warwick, J. (2019) “Maybe what we’ve done here in Antigua is just the thing to combat global inequity”:  Developing Teachers for Linguistically Diverse Classrooms through Study Abroad. In: D. Martin & E. Smolcic, Eds. Redefining Competence: Immersion-based teacher preparation for linguistic and culturally diverse classrooms.

Palmer, D. (2019) “You’re not a Spanish speaker!/We are all bilingual” The purple kids on being and becoming bilingual in a dual language kindergarten classroom. In: Faltis, C. & MacSwan, J. Eds. Code-Switching in the Classroom:  A Multilingual Perspective on Language and Language Practices. Routledge, pp.247-267.

*Wall, D., *Greer, E., & Palmer, D. (2019) Exploring institutional processes in a district-wide dual language program: Who is it for? Who is left out? Journal of Latinos in Education,

Palmer, D., Cervantes-Soon, C., Dorner, L., & *Heiman, D. (2019) Bilingualism, Biliteracy, Biculturalism… and Critical Consciousness for All: Proposing a Fourth Fundamental Principle for Two-Way Dual Language Education. Theory Into Practice, 58(2), 121-133.

*Henderson, K. & Palmer, D. (2019) “I wonder why they don’t do the two-way”: Disrupting the one-way/two-way dichotomy, re-envisioning the possibilities of dual language bilingual education. NABE Journal of Research and Practice, 9(1),

Cervantes-Soon, C., Dorner, L., Palmer, D., Heiman, D., Schwerdtfeger, R., & Choi, J. (2017) Combating inequalities in two-way language immersion programs: Toward critical consciousness in bilingual education spaces. Review of Research in Education.

Palmer, D., Zuñiga, C. & Henderson, K. (2015) A dual language revolution in the United States? From compensatory to enrichment bilingual education in Texas. In: Wright, W., Boun, S., & Garcia, O. (Eds.) Handbook of Bilingual and Multilingual Education, Wiley-Blackwell.

Palmer, D.K. & Martínez, R.A. (2013) Teacher agency in bilingual spaces:  A fresh look at preparing teachers to educate Latino/a bilingual children. Review of Research in Education, 37(1), 269-297.

Palmer, D. (2010). Race, power, and equity in a multiethnic urban elementary school with a dual immersion “strand” program. Anthropology in Education Quarterly, 41(1), 94-114.

Palmer, D. (2009). Middle-class English speakers in a two-way immersion bilingual classroom: “Everybody should be listening to Jonathan right now…” TESOL Quarterly, 43(2), 177-202.

Developing Critical Consciousness through Dialogue with our Neighbors:  University Hill Elementary and CU Boulder SOE Partnership for Equity

        The purpose of the School of Education/University Hill Elementary partnership is to support equitable educational engagements by developing and nurturing spaces for critical inquiry and dialogue that center the needs, identities, and experiences of racially and linguistically marginalized students. A collaborative project with Dr. Andrea Dyrness (EFPP) and Dr. Enrique Sepúlveda (Ethnic Studies) and the leadership at UHE, this project involves UHE students and teachers, and CU Boulder undergraduate and graduate students. 

        At the heart of the partnership is a unique cultural mentoring program that brings together underrepresented students at CU who are Education and Ethnic Studies majors with predominantly Latinx 5th graders at Uni Hill. Through a weekly after-school program led by the CU Boulder students, we aim to: 1) build community among Uni Hill students and underrepresented students at CU and promote a sense of belonging to CU and the Boulder community, 2) To reflect on and strengthen cultural identity, and 3) To explore issues of common concern in our communities and cultural resources for education, or community cultural wealth (Yosso 2005). It is our hope that through this new community, both groups of students will see their identities and experiences as resources for their education, and Uni Hill students will begin to see higher education as not only possible but meaningful for them and their communities, while CU students will see community engagement as a way to enhance their own educational experience. Additionally, through research partnerships with fifth grade teachers and professional development for the entire faculty of Uni Hill, we aim to support teachers to leverage their students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds as resources for teaching and learning in dual language bilingual classrooms.

        This project began with an SOE-Partnership SEED Grant in 2019. 

Recent Courses Taught:

2625/5625 Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language
5605 Research Issues in Bilingual Education 
5615 Second Language Acquisition
5425 Introduction to Bilingual/Multicultural Education

8730 Advanced Qualitative Methods: Discourse Analysis
8014 Seminar on Democracy, Diversity and Justice in Education: Latinos in Education