Dr. Mellom holds a Ph.D. in linguistics specializing in second language acquisition and educational linguistics. She has more than 30-years experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse learners in the United States and Central America. She works primarily with pre and inservice teachers to develop their ability to make academic content accessible to linguistically and culturally diverse learners. Her qualitative analysis explores the role of collaborative, conversation-based instruction in identity construction, and cognitive and linguistic development.

Her current projects include qualitative and mixed methods research to explore:

The development of research-based tools to facilitate K-12 teachers’ implementation of culturally responsive, collaborative, conversation-based pedagogies.

The impact of a culturally responsive, collaborative, conversation-based pedagogy on multilingual student writing.

The impact of professional development interventions in culturally responsive pedagogies on change in teacher attitudes about, understanding of, and instructional practice to support the linguistic, academic and social emotional development of multilingual learners.

Multilingual learners’ translanguaging during collaborative, conversation-based small group lessons

How multilingual learners talk about their experience with collaborative, conversation-based small group lessons - examining issues of identity, sense of belonging and competency

Areas of Expertise

  • Discourse Analysis
  • Ethnographic Methods
  • Second-Language Acquisition


  • Discourse and Identity


  •  PhD in Linguistics, 2006
    University of Georgia
  •  AB in English and Spanish, 1988
    Occidental College


 706-542-3415 (office)



With a Little Help From My Friends: Conversation-based Instruction for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Classrooms
Grounded in research-based practice, this book helps all teachers make classroom learning more interactive and conversation-based. Drawing on their work with more than 800 teachers and administrators from 29 school districts and tow countries, the authors present a pedagogical model that challenges teachers to promote emotionally safe classroom environments, activate the assets they and their students bring to the classroom and modify the way they plan and implement their lessons to better support the linguistic, cognitive, and social-emotional development of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students The text includes teacher-tested tools for lesson planning and for scaffolding collaborative student leaning activities across grade levels and content areas.
  • Mellom, PJ; Hixon, RK; Weber, JP
  • Teachers College Press

Awards and Accolades

Rotary Scholar

Rotary International, 1993

Service Learning Fellow

University of Georgia, 2016

"Adelante" International Education Award

University of Georgia, 2014