Melissa Baralt

Melissa Baralt

Associate Professor of Applied Psycholinguistics

Affiliations:

- Modern Languages

- Center for Children and Families (Psychology) (see webpage here)

- Education

- Biomedical Engineering

Main office: DM 470A (inside the linguistics lab)

mbaralt@fiu.edu

Instagram: @hablamebebe

Education

  • Ph.D. Georgetown University, Applied Linguistics (awarded with distinction)
  • M.S. Georgetown University, Applied Linguistics
  • B.A. University of Virginia, Hispanic Linguistics

Research foci

  • Psycholinguistics
  • Bilingualism and second language acquisition
  • Bilingual language development in children
  • Sociocultural and environmental factors that affect parent-child interaction
  • Bilingual education; classroom vs. online language learning
  • Methodologies of language teaching
  • Language teacher education and cognition
  • Minority student experiences in the foreign language classroom

In The News

FIU News, 2019: New grant helps train teachers to be culturally conscious

Calvium, 2018. Empowering Hispanic mothers and children with an interactive language learning app. Case Study Dr. Melissa Baralt

Telemundo, 2017 Melissa Baralt ~ Crean una app que ayudará a los niños a ser bilingües

United States Department of Health and Human Services Idea Lab, 2017: HRSA Word Gap Challenge Yields Low-cost, Scalable, Tech-based Interventions

South Florida Business Journal, 2017: FIU professor launches app to tackle kids language development issue

FIU News, 2017: Professor wins national Word Gap Challenge

Univision, 2016: ¿Qué significa la brecha de vocabulario entre niños hispanos?

Univision, 2016: Maestra crea aplicación para combatir la brecha de las palabras entre los niños

FIU News, 2015: Professor starts initiative for FIU students to publish children's books in Haitian Creole

Univision, 2015: Cómo criar a un bebé bilingüe

Op Eds

FIU News, 2019 Pediatricians should encourage parents to use their home language with their children

Nuevo Herald, 2017 Miami debe promover el bilingüismo en los niños

Funding

  • National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine G08 grant. Háblame Bebé: Improving health information access for low-income Hispanic children's early language environments. With Dr. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (George Washington University, Co-PI) and Dr. Natalie Brito (New York University, Co-I). $450,000.
  • Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC) grant. In collaboration with Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA, MCHB) as part of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV). Supporting Hispanic children’s early language environments and bilingualism through nurse home visiting. 2019. With Dr. Natalie Brito (New York University), Dr. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (George Washington University), and Dr. Anne Larson (Utah State University). Serving Nurse Family Partnership of Miami-Dade County. $25,000.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. Improving Spanish-language Teacher Training and Retention: An HSI-HBCU collaboration. 2019. $100,000. (NEH)
  • The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Office of Multicultural Affairs. Háblame Bébe (Talk to Me Baby): Reducing the Word Gap and promoting bilingualism in low-income Hispanic children. With Drs. Anne Larson (Utah State University) and Carol Scheffner Hammer (Columbia University). 2017. $14,900.
  • Phase 3 Winner: Health Resources and Services Administration Phase 3 Champion. Háblame Bebé Phone App: Helping Hispanic families reduce the word gap and promote bilingualism. Technology-driven innovation to tackle the word gap among children from low-income families. With Drs. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (George Washington University) and Natalie Brito (Columbia University). 2017. $75,000.
  • Phase 2 Winner: Health Resources and Services Administration Bridging the Word Gap Challenge. Háblame Bebé Phone App: Helping Hispanic families reduce the word gap and promote bilingualism. Technology-driven innovation to tackle the word gap among children from low-income families. With Drs. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (George Washington University) and Natalie Brito (Columbia University). 2016. $25,000.
  • Phase 1 Winner: Health Resources and Services Administration Bridging the Word Gap Challenge. Háblame Bebé Phone App: Helping Hispanic families reduce the word gap and promote bilingualism. Technology-driven innovation to tackle the word gap among children from low-income families. With Drs. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (George Washington University) and Natalie Brito (Columbia University). 2016. $10,000.
  • Development of an MI-BRIDGE online toolkit for teachers (MI-BRIDGE: minority institutions building resources to ignite development and growth in education). Designated language teaching methodologist funds under LACC Title VI grant with Dr. Frank Mora. 2015-2017. $9,000.
  • Development of MI-BRIDGE Post-Secondary Faculty Training Workshops. Designated language teaching methodologist funds under LACC Title VI grant with Dr. Frank Mora. 2015-2017. $9,000.
  • Language Learning Small Research Grant. Project title: The benefits of bilingualism for children born premature. Co-PI Dr. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (Baptist Children's Hospital). 2014-2015. $10,000.
  • Kranys Children's Innovation Grant with Dr. Ashley Darcy Mahoney (of Baptist Children's Hospital and George Washington University). Project title: Bilingualism and the relationship to cognitive and executive development in preterm infants. 2014-2016. $100,000.
  • Broad Research Fellowship. 2012, 2015. $1000.

Honors and Awards

  • Word Gap Challenge Winner, 2017. United States Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
  • Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2016. Florida International University.
  • Children's Wellbeing Pioneer Award, 2016. Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Top Scholar, 2014. (One of 39 professors chosen by President Rosenberg for excellence in research). Florida International University.

Select Publications

Books

  • Cerezo, L., Leow, R., & Baralt, M. (2015). A psycholinguistic approach to technology and language learning. Boston: de Gruyter. Book information
  • Baralt, M., Gilabert, R., & Robinson, P. (2014). Task sequencing and instructed second language learning. London: Bloomsbury. Book information

Articles

  • Larson, A., Cycyk, L., Scheffner Hammer, C., Baralt, M., Uchikoshi, Y., An, G., Wood, C. (In press). A systemic review of language-focused interventions for young children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
  • Baralt, M., & Morcillo Gómez, J. (2017). Task-Based Language Teaching online: A guide for teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 21, 28-43. (See article here).
  • Darcy Mahoney, A., & Baralt, M. (2016). Bilingualism and executive inhibitory control in 4- and 5-year-old preterm born children: A pilot study. Advances in Neonatal Care, 16, National Association of Neonatal Nurses Research Abstracts E3-E12.
  • Baralt, M., & López-Bravo, M. (2016). Teaching Chinese as a foreign language: A classroom study on the timing of grammar around a task. Chinese as a Second Language Research, 5, 27-61.
  • Gurzynski-Weiss, L., & Baralt, M. (2015). Does type of modified output correspond to learner noticing of feedback? A closer look in face-to-face and computer-mediated task-based interaction. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36, 1393-420.
  • Head, L., Baralt, M., & Darcy Mahoney, A. (2015). Bilingualism as a potential strategy to improve executive function in preterm infants - A review. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 29, 126-36.
  • Gurzynski-Weiss, L., & Baralt, M. (2014). Exploring learner perception and use of task-based interactional feedback in FTF and CMC modes. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 36, 1-37.
  • Cerezo, L., Baralt, M., Suh, B-R., & Leow, R. (2014). Does the medium really matter in L2 development? The validity of CALL research designs. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27, 294-310.
  • Baralt, M. (2013). The impact of cognitive complexity on feedback efficacy during online versus face-to-face interactive tasks. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 35, 689-725.
  • Baralt, M., Pennestri, S., Selvanadin, M. (2011). Using Wordles to teach foreign language writing. Language Learning & Technology, 15, 12-22.
  • Baralt, M., & Gurzynski-Weiss, L. (2011). Comparing learners’ state anxiety during task-based interaction in computer-mediated and face-to-face communication. Language Teaching Research, 15, 201-29.
  • Baralt, M. (2009). The Use of Social Networking Sites for Language Practice and Learning. Ilha Do Desterro, Recent Research in SLA, 59, 1. Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil.

Book chapters

  • Torres, J., & Baralt, M. (in press). El aprendizaje del español como lengua de herencia a través del enfoque por tareas. In D. Pascual y Cabo & J. Torres (Eds.), El español como lengua de herencia. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Baralt, M. (2018). Becoming a task-based teacher educator: A case study. In Martin Bygate, Virginia Samuda, & Kris Van den Branden (Eds.), Task-based Language Teaching as a researched pedagogy. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Baralt, M., Gurzynski-Weiss, L., & Kim, Y. (2016). Engagement with the language: How examining learners’ affective and social engagement explains successful learner-generated attention to form. In M. Sato & S. Ballinger (Eds.), Peer interaction and L2 learning (pp. 209-239). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Baralt, M. (2015). Working memory capacity, cognitive complexity and L2 recasts in online language teaching. In Z. Wen, M. Borges Mota, & A. McNeill (Eds.), Working memory in second language acquisition and processing (pp. 248-269). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Baralt, M., & Leow, R. (2015). Uptake, task complexity, and L2 development in SLA: An online perspective. In Cerezo, L., Leow, R., & Baralt, M. (Eds.), A psycholinguistic approach to technology and language learning (pp. 201-222). Boston: de Gruyter.
  • Gurzynski-Weiss, L., Baralt, M., Al-Khalil, M., & Leow, R. (2015). The roles of type of feedback, type of linguistic item, and awareness in L2 development in computer-mediated communication. In Cerezo, L., Leow, R., & Baralt, M. (Eds.), A psycholinguistic approach to technology and language learning (pp. 151-170). Boston: de Gruyter.
  • Baralt., M. (2014). Task sequencing and task complexity in traditional versus online classes. In M. Baralt, R. Gilabert, & P. Robinson (Eds.), Task sequencing and instructed second language learning (pp. 95-122). London: Bloomsbury.
  • Baralt, M., Gilabert, R., & Robinson, P. (2014). An introduction to theory and research in task sequencing and instructed second language learning. In M. Baralt, R. Gilabert, & P. Robinson (Eds.), Task sequencing and instructed second language learning (pp. 1-34). London: Bloomsbury.
  • Baralt., M., Harmath-de Lemos, S., & Werfelli, S. (2014). Teachers' application of the Cognition Hypothesis when lesson planning: A case study. In M. Baralt, R. Gilabert, & P. Robinson (Eds.), Task sequencing and instructed second language learning (pp. 179-206). London: Bloomsbury.
  • Baralt, M. (2012). Coding qualitative data. In A. Mackey and S. Gass (Eds.), Research methods in second language acquisition: A practical guide (pp. 222-244). Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.

Current Research Projects

  • Háblame Bebé: An app to empower parents to create learning opportunities for their child in their home language (with Ashley Darcy Mahoney, George Washington University, and Natalie Brito, New York University)
  • The neural recruitment of executive function in bilingual versus monolingual preterm-born children with fNIRS (with Ashley Darcy Mahoney, George Washington University)
  • The moderating role of bilingualism on preterm infant executive function capacity (with Ashley Darcy Mahoney, George Washington University)
  • The role of cognitive complexity on learner awareness in task-based interaction
  • Social functions of code-switching in a bilingual first-grade classroom (with Laura Gurzynski-Weiss, Indiana University)
  • Task-based teaching of Spanish as a foreign language in China
  • Eye-tracking to measure teachers' cognitive load when doing task-based language teaching fully online (with José Morcillo Gómez and Fabrizio Chávez, Florida International University, and Wilkey Wong, Tobii)

Current Research collaborations with graduate students

  • Why teaching the voseo forms in Spanish is a form of social justice, with Diana Ortega, Florida International University
  • A needs analysis for Spanish for business purposes in Miami-Dade contexts, with Jeniffer Fernández, Anna Cepeda, Claudia Battistel, and Primavera Cuder, Florida International University
  • The effects of task complexity and convergent versus divergent tasks on Spanish students' L2 production and interaction, with Ana Lowe, Florida International University

Current Ph.D. Students

  • Ruth Nolan, Georgia State University: Applied Linguistics and ESL. Examining task transferability in Task-Based Language Teaching: A multi-case study.
  • Renata Pavanelli Pereira, Florida International University: Education. Understanding L2 learners' attitudes and needs in academic writing in an English for Academic Purposes context.
  • YeonJoo Jung, Georgia State University: Applied Linguistics and ESL. The role of socially-mediated alignment in the development of L2 grammar and vocabulary: Comparing FTF and SCMC contexts.
  • Sandy Gonzalez, Florida International University: Psychology. Neural and motor predictors of language development in infancy.
  • Keith Wylie, Florida International University: Legal Psychology. Assessing cognitive interview mnemonics and their effectiveness with non-native English speakers.
  • Carly Henderson-Contreras, Indiana University: Spanish. The effect of corrective feedback timing, communication mode and learner working memory on the acquisition of Spanish as a foreign language.
  • Noha Elsakka, Florida International University: Education. Task-based language teaching for the teaching of Arabic.

Current M.A./M.S. Students

- Caitlyn Myland, Florida International University: Biomedical Engineering. The neural recruitment of executive functioning in bilingual versus monolingual premature children: An fNIRS (Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) study.

- Reema Algofaili, Florida International University: Linguistics. Spelling accuracy of Arabic speakers in the writing of English vowels.

- Guillermo Bonilla, Florida International University: Linguistics. Third language acquisition of Japanese intransitive verbs in monolingual English and English/Spanish bilingual speakers.

- Juliette Acosta-Santiago, Florida International University: Linguistics. Politics and its impact on code-switching in Puerto Rico.

- Amaya Bueno, Florida International University: Asian Studies. Using Korean pop music to learn Korean vocabulary.

McNair Mentees (The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at FIU)

- Hillary López, Florida International University: Civil and Environmental Engineering. Exploring drivers' behavior and cognition in a driving simulator with eye-tracking.

- Valentina Dargam, Florida International University: Biomedical Engineering. Language proficiency and executive function: an fNIRS (Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) study. Complete - now in FIU biomedical engineering Ph.D. program.

CURE Mentees (The Coulter Undergraduate Research Excellence Program)

- Victoria Leon, Florida International University: Biomedical Engineering. The cognitive benefits of bilingualism in executive functioning in preterm-born children in Miami-Dade.