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Mark Allen Dressman

Professor Emeritus


Mark Dressman is a former secondary teacher of English and social studies in urban, international, and rural (Navajo Nation) contexts. His research, teaching, and service are focused on the improvement of educational theory, research, and practice across a wide range of settings.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the improvement of educational research and practice, with a focus on language and literacy education, both domestically and internationally.

Currently, I am Professor Emeritus of English education, working in both first and additional language contexts in the United States, Morocco, and Asia. From 2014-2016 I was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Morocco, working at three universities there to improve the teaching of first-year English. I conducted the first study of IDLE (Informal Digital Learning of English) there and from that work published two books with Wiley-Blackwell, The Handbook of Informal Language Learning (2020) and English Language Learning in the Digital Age: Learner-Driven Strategies for Adolescents and Young Adults (2023). I continue to research and work internationally with scholars in Europe, Morocco, Hong Kong, China, and South Korea on a range of comparative studies in language and literacy.

Past projects have included studies of poetry education, the use of social theory in educational research, literacy policy, and literacy in school libraries.

Courses Taught

I have taught a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. At the undergraduate level, I have taught courses in the secondary English education program, a course in content area literacy across many content areas, and a course on social media. At the masters level, I teach courses in curriculum development, social media, and literacy, and at the doctoral level I teach courses in qualitative analysis and writing.

I am equally proud of my work in program development at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and particularly of the study abroad and service learning trips I have organized and led to Spain, Morocco, and the Navajo Nation. I was also principal author of the I-STECS grant, which provided funding for the development of the first undergraduate secondary education program in Computer Science.

From 2019 to 2021 I was Chair and Professor of English at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In 2023, I was a Visiting Professor at Universite Paul Sabatier-Toulouse III, in France, and currently am a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak, India, where I am redesigning two core courses in English.

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor Emeritus, Curriculum and Instruction
Professor Emeritus, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

Recent Publications

Rao, D., Lee, C., Fdilat, Y., Bouziane, A., & Dressman, M. (Accepted/In press). Across four nations: Comparing the discourses of adolescents' digital literacy. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

Dressman, M. A., Lee, J. S., & Perrot, L. (2023). English Language Learning in the Digital Age: Learner-Driven Strategies for Adolescents and Young Adults. Wiley-Blackwell.

Dressman, M. (2023). Toward an anthropology of Informal Digital Learning of English (IDLE). In D. Toffoli, G. Sockett, & M. Kusyk (Eds.), Language Learning and Leisure: Informal Language Learning in the Digital Age (pp. 21-42). (Studies on Language Acquisition; Vol. 66). De Gruyter.

Rao, D., Lee, C., & Dressman, M. (2023). Learning with the stars: A cross-national approach to media literacy and reality television. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 67(2), 65-73.

Dressman, M., & Lee, J. S. (2021). IDLE in the Classroom: Learner-Driven Strategies for English Language Learning. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 94(4), 181-187.

View all publications on Illinois Experts