Professional Biography

Dr. Pomerantz is a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where she teaches courses in language pedagogy, academic discourse socialization, and intercultural communication. She is the founder and director of the GSE Writing Coach program, which provides individualized writing support to international students who use English as an additional language. At Penn, Dr. Pomerantz collaborates with both the Penn Language Center and the Lauder Institute to organize and lead professional development opportunities for language teachers in the Philadelphia region and around the world, including the annual Penn-Lauder Summer Institute on Learning a Second Language for Business Communication. In addition, she designs and teaches workshops for area school districts struggling to meet the academic, linguistic, and social needs of immigrant children and families. She is a member of the Plurilingualism in Education Research Group in Catalonia, Spain and the recipient of a 2011 Catalan Ministry of Education grant to study immigrant education. 

Prior to teaching at Penn GSE, Dr. Pomerantz was an instructor of Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania and served as the coordinator of the department’s elementary and intermediate language programs. She has also taught English as a second language (ESL) to adults and children in a variety of educational and community settings. Her first position as a language educator was at the Hudson School in Hoboken, NJ, where she taught Spanish and Latin to middle school students. After completing her bachelor’s degree at Wesleyan University, Dr. Pomerantz earned her master’s degree in TESOL and doctoral degree in Educational Linguistics, both from Penn GSE.

Research Interests and Current Projects

In both her teaching and research, Dr. Pomerantz invites educators to examine how ideas about language, language use, and language learning shape what happens in classrooms, particularly in linguistically diverse contexts. In recent years, she has researched different ways humor can be used as an accessible and relatable way of introducing teachers to contemporary theories of language and communication. Moreover, in conjunction with Penn GSE alumna Nancy D. Bell (’02), she has developed a framework for helping language teachers and intercultural educators to develop research-driven lessons on using humor. Together, they co-authored Humor in the Classroom: A Guide for Language Teachers and Educational Researchers(Routledge, 2016).

Dr. Pomerantz is also deeply committed to fostering meaningful, mutually beneficial, and sustainable community partnerships. Since 2013, she has been working with students at Penn GSE to provide language and literacy support to children and adults at Moder Patshala, a local organization that serves Philadelphia’s Bangladeshi community. An experienced community organizer, Dr. Pomerantz has led local initiatives around parent engagement, foreign language instruction, arts education, and equitable school funding. 


Ph.D. (Educational Linguistics) University of Pennsylvania, 2001

M.S.Ed. (TESOL) University of Pennsylvania, 1998

B.A. (Classical Studies) Wesleyan University, 1993

Areas of Expertise

Humor in social interaction

Multilingual language play


Language and social identity

Second language writing

Selected Publications

Bell, N., & Pomerantz, A. (2014). Reconsidering language teaching through a focus on humor. E-JournALL, 1(1), 31–47.  

Pomerantz, A. (2013, December 7). Why the ‘good school’ vs ‘bad school’ debate is all wrong .The Washington Post. 

Pomerantz, A.,& Huguet, A. (2013). La enseñanza del español en las escuelas públicas de los Estados Unidos de América: ¿Bilingüismo para quién? [Spanish language education in U.S. public schools: Bilingualism for whom?]. Infancia y aprendizaje, 36(4), 517–536. 

Pomerantz, A. (2013). Narrative approaches to SLA research. In C. A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Pomerantz, A., & Kearney, E. (2012). Beyond ‘write-talk-revise-(repeat)’: Using narrative to understand one multilingual student’s interactions around writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(3), 221–238. 

Pomerantz, A., & Bell, N. (2011). Humor as safe house in the foreign language classroom. Modern Language Journal, 95(1), 148–161.  

Pomerantz, A., & Schwartz, A. (2011). Border talk: Narratives of Spanish language learning in the U.S. Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication,11(3), 176–195. 

Coryell, J., Clark, M., & Pomerantz, A. (2010). Cultural fantasy narratives and heritage language learning: A case study of adult, heritage learners of Spanish. Modern Language Journal, 94(3).

Pomerantz, A. (2010). Speaking Spanish outside the foreign language classroom: An analysis of learner narratives.Critical Inquiry in Language Studies,7(1), 1–27.

Pomerantz, A. (2008). “Tú necesitas preguntar en español”: Negotiating good language learner identity in a Spanish classroom. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 7(3–4), 253–71.

Pomerantz, A., & Bell, N. (2007). Learning to play, playing to learn: FL learners as multicompetent language users. Applied Linguistics, 28(4), 556–578.

Pomerantz, A. (2002). Language ideologies and the production of identities: Spanish as a resource for participation in a multilingual marketplace. Multilingua, 21(2–3), 275–302.