Betsy R. Rymes

Associate Professor

Educational Linguistics Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-746-7878


Professional Biography

Dr. Rymes’s career began in Los Angeles, where she taught junior high school and adult English language learners for three years. She became passionate about her experiences with language and culture as a classroom teacher, and decided to pursue a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and a doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics, both from UCLA. From 1998 to 2007, Dr. Rymes was a professor in the University of Georgia’s Department of Language and Literacy Education, and also held a secondary appointment in the Linguistics division. In 2002, she founded the TELL (Teachers for English Language Learners) program, a five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, designed to bring bilingual community members into the teaching profession.

Dr. Rymes’s university teaching focuses on integrating discourse analysis and concepts from linguistic anthropology with a study of the conditions of multilingualism in school contexts. 

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Rymes’s research is centered in educational contexts and examines how language, social interaction, institutions, and the Internet influence what students learn in schools. She has published in Language in Society,Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Research on the Teaching of English, TESOL Quarterly, Anthropology & Education, Linguistics & Education, and Harvard Educational Review, among others. Dr. Rymes is the author of Conversational Borderlands (Teachers College Press, 2001), Communicating Beyond Language: Everyday Engagements with Diversity (Routledge, 2014) and Classroom Discourse Analysis: A Tool for Critical Reflection(Hampton, 2009), with a second edition forthcoming (Routledge, 2015). She was co-editor of Linguistic Anthropology of Education(Praeger, 2003) with Stanton Wortham.

Her current research investigates how sociolinguistics can be integrated into the high school English curriculum in ways that will enhance student and teacher appreciation of linguistic and sociocultural diversity as a resource for language learning. She maintains a blog about her research. 

Selected Publications

Rymes, B. (in press). Classroom discourse analysis: A tool for critical reflection (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Rymes, B. (2014). Communicating beyond language: Everyday encounters with diversity. New York, NY: Routledge.

Rymes, B. (2014). Communicative repertoire. In B. Street & C. Leung (Eds.), Routledge companion to English language studies. New York, NY and London, England: Rouledge.

Rymes, B. (2014). Marking communicative repertoire through metacommentary. In A. Creese & A. Blackledge (Eds.), Heteroglossia as practice and pedagogy. New York, NY & London, England: Springer.

Rymes, B., & Leone, A. (2014). Citizen sociolinguistics: A new media methodology for understanding language and social life. Working papers in educational linguistics, 29(2), 25–44.

Rymes, B. (2012). Recontextualizing YouTube: From micro-macro to mass-mediated communicative repertoires. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 43(2), 214–227.

Rymes, B. (2011). Deference, denial, and beyond: A repertoire approach to mass media and schooling. Review of Research in Education, 35(1), 208–238.

Rymes, B. (2010). Communicative repertoires and English language learners. In M. Shatz & L.C. Wilkinson (Eds.), The education of English language learners: Research to practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press, 2010.

Rymes, B. (2010). Classroom discourse analysis: A focus on communicative repertoires. In N. Hornberger & S. McKay (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and language education. London, England: Multilingual Matters. 

Rymes, B. (2010). Why and why not? Narrative approaches in the social sciences. Narrative Inquiry, 20(2).

Rymes, B. (2010). Dimensions of discourse and identity. In L.B. Jennings, P.C. Jewett, T.T. Laman, M.V. Souto-Manning, & J. Wilson (Eds.), Sites of possibility: Critical dialogue across educational settings (pp. 193–220). New York, NY: Hampton Press.

Rymes, B. (2009). Classroom discourse analysis: A tool for critical reflection. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Rymes, B. (2008). The relationship between mass media and classroom discourse. Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 23(1), 65–88.

Rymes, B. (2008). Language socialization and the linguistic anthropology of education. In N. Hornberger & P. Duff (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education, 2nd revised edition. New York, NY: Springer.

Cahnmann, M., Rymes, B., & Suoto-Manning, M. (2005). Using critical discourse analysis to understand and facilitate identification processes of bilingual adults becoming teachers. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.

Rymes, B., & Anderson, K. (2004). Second language acquisition for all: Understanding the interactional dynamics of classrooms in which Spanish and AAE are spoken. Research in the Teaching of English, 29(2), 107–135.

Rymes, B. (2004). Contrasting zones of comfortable competence: Popular culture in a phonics lesson. Linguistics & Education, 14, 321–335.

Rymes, B. (2003). Relating word to world: Indexicality during literacy events. In S.E.F. Wortham & B. Rymes (Eds.), The linguistic anthropology of education. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Rymes, B. (2003). Eliciting narratives, producing identites: Text-linked versus socially contingent processes for narrating the self. Research in the Teaching of English.

Wortham, S.E.F., & Rymes, B. (Eds.). (2002). The linguistic anthropology of education. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Rymes, B. (2002). Language in development in the United States: Supervising adult ESOL pre-service teachers in an immigrant community. TESOL Quarterly, 36(3).

Rymes, B. R.: Conversational Borderlands: Language and Identity in an Alternative Urban High School. New York: Teachers College Press, 2001.

Rymes, B., & Pash, D. (2001). Questioning identity: The case of one second language learner. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 32(3), 276–300.

Rymes, B. (2001). Conversational borderlands: Language and identity in an alternative urban high school. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.