Nihat Polat

Professor and Program Director
School of Education

106C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4464


Ph.D., Foreign Language Education and Applied Linguistics, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007

Dr. Polat has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses on second/foreign language (L2) learning and teaching, L2 curriculum and assessment, integrated literacy in content areas, and helping minority students (e.g., English learners, Muslim children) in K-12 schools. He is the Program Director of the ESL and TESOL programs. He has published two books and over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles in addition to book chapters, conference proceedings, and critical reviews. He has two research tracks. The first area concerns applied linguistics, particularly L2 learning and teaching while the second area contributes to the field of L2 teacher education. His book entitled "L2 Learning, Teaching and Assessment: A Comprehensible Input Perspective" has been published in Multilingual Matters. His second book, co-authored with Laura Mahalingappa and Terri Rodriguez is entitled "Supporting Muslim Students: A Guide to Understanding the Diverse Issues of Today's Classrooms" and has just been published by Rowman & Littlefield. His work has appeared in numerous and top-tier journals, including Applied Linguistics, Language Learning and Technology, TESOL Quarterly, Modern Language Journal, Journal of Educational Research, Linguistics and Education, Foreign Language Annals, and System. He has been invited to join editorial boards of high impact journals (e.g.,TESOL Quarterly), served as the elected chair of national research groups (e.g., TESOL Applied Linguistics Intersection), and sat on national research and review panels (e.g., Fulbright National Screening Committee, Turkish National Science Foundation, Office of Second Language Acquisition), while also serving as the consulting editor of the Journal of Educational Research and reviewing for almost all major journals in his field.

Research Interests

Teacher Education

Pre and in-service teacher education
Sheltered instruction (SIOP)
Linguistic and cultural diversity
Teachers' pedagogical beliefs
Education of English learners
Education of immigrant children
Gender differences
FL/SL program evaluation
Teacher dispositions and cognition

L2 Pedagogy/ Applied Linguistics

Input and L2A
Quality of L2 use, syntactic complexity
Individual differences,
L2 identity, socialization,
L2 self-concept, beliefs
Accent, grammar, vocabulary
Anonymity in cyber ecologies
Proficiency assessment
Age and gender differences

Recent Publications


Polat, N., Mahalingappa, L., & Kayi-Aydar, H. (Eds.). (Under-contract). Preparation of Teachers of English as an Additional Language (EAL) around the World: Research, Policy, Curriculum, and Practice. Multilingual Matters.

Polat, N., Gregersen, T., & MacIntyre, P. (Eds.). (2019). Research-Driven Pedagogy: Implications of L2A Theory and Research for the Teaching of Language Skills. Routledge.

Mahalingappa, L., Rodriguez, T., & Polat, N. (2017). Supporting Muslim Students: A Guide to Understanding the Diverse Issues of Today's Classrooms. Rowman & Littlefield.

Polat, N. (2016). L2 Learning, Teaching, and Assessment: A Comprehensible Input Perspective.  Buffalo, NY. Multilingual Matters.          

Polat, N. Language and Happiness. (Proposal under-review). Harvard Education Press.

Journal Articles

Polat, N., Mahalingappa, L., & Mancilla, R. (2020). Developmental Patterns of Written Syntactic Complexity of EFL Learners: Variability by Elementary, Pre-intermediate, and Intermediate Proficiency Levels. Applied Linguistics.

Margolis, J., Strom, K., & Polat, N. (2019). Teacher Professional Dispositions: Much Assemblage Required. Teachers College Records.

Polat, N., Mahalingappa, L., Hughes, E., &, Karayigit, C. (2019). Change in preservice teacher beliefs about inclusion, responsibility, and culturally responsive pedagogy for English learners. International Multilingual Research Journal. DOI: 10.1080/19313152.2019.1597607

Mahalingappa, L., Hughes, E., & Polat, N. (2018). Developing Preservice Teachers' Self-Efficacy and Knowledge through Online Experiences with English Language Learners. Language and Education, 32, 127-146.

Mahalingappa, L., & Polat, N. (2017). Overall and Component-Based Inter-Rater Reliability of the SIOP Model. International Journal of TESOL and Learning, 6, 18-35.

Mancilla, R., Polat, N., & Akcay, A. (2017). An Investigation of Native and Non-Native English Speakers' Levels of Written Syntactic Complexity in Asynchronous Online Discussions. Applied Linguistics, 38, 112-134.

Polat, N., Zarecky-Hodge, A., & Schreiber, J. (2016). Academic Growth Trajectories of ELLs in NAEP data: The Case of Fourth- and Eighth-Grade ELLs and Non-ELLs on Mathematics and Reading Tests. The Journal of Educational Research, 109, 541-553.

Polat, N., & Cepik, S. (2016). An Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol as a Teacher Performance Evaluation Tool. TESOL Quarterly, 50, 817-843.

Polat, N., & Cepik, S. (2014). A Comparative Analysis of EFL and ESL Programs Regarding Curriculum Mandates and Program Directors' and Teacher Candidates' Perceptions: The Case of Turkey and the U.S. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 239-251.

Cepik, S., & Polat, N. (2014). Mandates, Needs, Equitable Resources, and Current Research in English Language Teacher Education: The Case of Turkey. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 3, 1-14.

Polat, N., & Schallert, D. L. (2013). Kurdish Adolescents Acquiring Turkish: Their Self-Determined Motivation and Identification with L1 and L2 Communities as Predictors of L2 Accent Attainment. Modern Language Journal, 93, 745-763.

Polat, N, Mancilla, R., and Mahalingappa, L. (2013). Anonymity and Motivation in Asynchronous Discussions and L2 Vocabulary Learning. Language Learning & Technology, 17, 57-74.

Polat, N., & Mahalingappa, L. (2013). Pre- and In-service Teachers' Beliefs about ELLs in Content Area Classes: A Case for Inclusion, Responsibility, and Instructional Support. Teaching Education, 24, 58-83.

Mahalingappa, L., & Polat, N. (2013). English Language Teacher Education in Turkey: Policy vs. Academic Standards. European Journal of Higher Education, 3, 371-383.

Rodriguez, T.L. & Polat, N.  (2012). Politicizing Difference: Interpreting Citizenship as a Dimension of Diversity in Pre-Service Teachers' Narratives. Linguistics and Education, 23, 361-372.

Polat, N. (2011).  Examining the Nature and Content of L2 Socialization Patterns: Attainment of a Native-like Turkish Accent by Kurds. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 8, 261-288.

Polat, N. (2011). Pedagogical Treatment and Change in Preservice Teacher Beliefs: An Experimental Study. International Journal of Educational Research, 49, 195-209.

Polat, N. (2011). Gender and Age Differences in Motivation and L2 Accent Attainment: An Investigation of Young Kurdish Learners of Turkish. Language Learning Journal, 39, 19-41.

Polat, N. (2010). A Comparative Analysis of Pre-and In-Service Teacher Beliefs about Readiness and Self-Competency: Revisiting Teacher Education for ELLs. System, 38, 228-244.

Polat, N., & Mahalingappa, L. (2010). Gender Differences in Identity and Acculturation Patterns and L2 Accent Attainment. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 9, 17-35.

Polat, N. (2009). Matches in Beliefs between Teachers and Students, and Success in L2 Attainment: The Georgian Example. Foreign Language Annals, 42, 229-249.  

Recent Grants

Mahalingappa, L., Fitzgerald, A. M., & Polat, N. (2015) Support for refugee families with school-aged children in the Pittsburgh area through ethnically-based community centers: an additive model for family engagement, student linguistic and academic development, and teacher preparation. Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research. Granted: $19,800.

Polat, N. (2014). Presidential Scholarship Award grant for a book proposal entitled: "Encountering Comprehensible Input: Theoretical Foundation, L2 Learning, Teaching, and Assessment". Granted: $5,000.

Recent Presentations

Mahalingappa, L., Rodriguez, T., & Polat, N. (2017). Cultural Approaches to the Education of Muslim Children in U.S. K-12 Schools. American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA). San Antonio, TX, April 27- May 1.

Polat, N., Mahalingappa, L., and Hughes, E. (2017). Instigating change in preservice teacher cognition about ELs' education: The case of inclusion, culture, and responsibility in mainstream classrooms. American Association for Applied Linguistics Conference (AAAL). Portland, OR, March 18-21.

Mahalingappa, L., Rodriguez, T., & Polat, N. (2017). Supporting Muslim Students in K-12 Schools: Knowledge and Practical Suggestions. Annual TESOL Convention. Seattle, WA, March 21-24.

Mancilla, R., & Polat, N. (2016). Predicting Academic Performance in Graduate Education: Investigating the Contributions of English Proficiency and Written Syntactic Complexity for Non-Native English Speakers. American Association for Applied Linguistics Conference (AAAL). Orlando, FL, April 9-12.

Polat N. (2016). Factor Structure of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol in Measuring Pedagogical Effectiveness. American Association for Applied Linguistics Conference (AAAL). Orlando, FL, April 9-12.

Polat, N., Birdsong, D., Singleton, D., Moyer, A., & Bylund, M. (2016) "The Age Factor in SLA: A Practical Overview of Current Research and Implications for L2 Learning and Teaching (Applied Linguistics Inter Section Session). Annual TESOL Convention. Baltimore, MD, April 5-8.

Mancilla, R., & Polat, N. (2016). Predicting Achievement for Non-Native English Speakers: The Impact of English Proficiency and Written Syntactic Complexity. Georgetown University Roundtable (GURT). Washington, DC, March 11-13.

Polat, N., Dörnyei, Z., Csizér, K., & Magid. M. (2015).Foundations of the L2 Motivational Self-Concept in Language Learning (Applied Linguistics Academic Session). Annual TESOL Convention. Toronto, Canada, March 25-28.

Polat, N., Horwitz, E.K., Tarone, E., Gregersen, T., & Callahan, R.M. (2015). Perspectives on SLA Content, Common-Core, Self-Efficacy in L2 Teacher Education (Applied Linguistics Intersection Session). Annual TESOL Convention. Toronto, Canada, March 25-28.

Mahalingappa, L., & Polat, N. (2015). Chinese and American Teachers' Oral Corrective Feedback Beliefs and Practices. Annual TESOL Convention. Toronto, Canada, March 25-28.

Mancilla, R. & Polat, N. (2015). Syntactic Complexity in Asynchronous Discussions: Native and Non-Native English Speakers. Annual TESOL Convention. Toronto, Canada, March 25-28.

Mahalingappa, L. & Polat, N. (2015). Preservice Teacher Beliefs about Readiness, Content Knowledge, and Field Experiences to Support English Learners. American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA). Chicago, IL, March 16-20.

Mahalingappa, L. & Polat, N. (2015). English Teachers' Perceptions about Types of Oral Corrective Feedback in Chinese and U.S. Contexts. American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA). Chicago, IL, March 16-20.

Polat, N., Mahalingappa, L., & Cepik, S. (2014). ELT Education in Turkey: A Multifaceted Programmatic Evaluation". Annual TESOL Convention. Portland, OR, March 26-29.

Polat, N. & Mahalingappa, L., (2014). Examining the Factorial Validity of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol as a Performance Evaluation Tool. American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA). Philadelphia, PA, April 3-7.

Polat, N. (2014). A Comparative Analysis of EFL and ESL Program Curricula Regarding Government Mandates, and Program: The Case of Turkey and the U.S. American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA). Philadelphia, PA, April 3-7.

Polat, N., & Cepik, S. (2014) Mandates, Needs, Resources, and Current Research: An Analysis of English Language Teacher Education in Turkey. American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA). Philadelphia, PA, April 3-7.

Graduate Courses Taught
Duquesne University

GESL 510- Theories and Practice of Second Language Learning
GESL 518- Integrated Literacy in Content Areas
GESL 508- Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learners
GESL 512- ESL Curriculum and Assessment
GESL 501- Helping English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes

The University of Texas at Austin

EDC f390T - Foreign/Second Language Materials Development
Undergraduate Courses Taught

Duquesne University

LTEL 201- Meeting Needs of English Language Learners
Service (National/International)

Member of Review Panel: The U.S. Student Fulbright National Screening Committee.

Member of Review Panel: United Kingdom, Department for International Development (DFID), Research and Evidence Division.

National Professional Organization: Chair, TESOL Applied Linguistics Interest Section, 2015

Consulting Editor: Journal of Educational Research (L2 teacher education, language education)

Editorial Board Memberships: Arts and Social Sciences Journal, Language and Communication Quarterly

Ad-hoc Journal Reviewing

Second Language Acquisition/ Applied Linguistics
Modern Language Journal, Language Learning, Cognition, Linguistics and Education, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, System

Educational Psychology
Educational Psychology, Learning and Individual Differences, Psychological Reports, Perceptual and Motor Skills

TESOL/ Education/ Teacher Education
Tesol Quarterly, Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Educational Research, Language and Education, Computers & Education

Conference Committee/Reviewing/Chairing: TESOL- Applied Linguistics Intersection; AERA- Division K, Sections 5 and 8; Second Language Research SIG, Teacher Induction SIG: Proposal Reviewer (Since 2009); AERA- English Language Teaching: Teacher Perceptions, Anxiety, and Pedagogy: Session Chair, 2011.

Professional Memberships: American Educational Research Association (AERA); American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL); American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Annual Convention (ACTFL); Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); International Society for Language Studies (ISLS)