Jennifer Wallace Jacoby

Associate Professor of Psychology and Education; Director of First-Year Seminars; on leave Spring 2022

Jennifer Jacoby is interested in how both children and teachers develop in school contexts. In particular, she seeks to understand how teachers can best support the learning of linguistically and socio-economically diverse groups of children. Jacoby's current research investigates how school settings support the language and literacy development of young English learning children, as well as, how these school settings support the professional learning of the teachers who work with English learners. She uses both qualitative and quantitative methods in her research.  


  • Teaching English Language Learners
  • Developing Literacy in Early Childhood and Elementary Schools
  • Laboratory in Social and Personality Development
  • Children's Language and Literacy Learning in Context


Recent Campus News

This is a portrait of Jesmyn Ward, editor of The Fire This Time.

Common Read announced: “The Fire This Time”

Mount Holyoke’s 2021 Common Read,  “The Fire This Time,” is a collection of “thoughtful, searing, and, at times, hopeful” essays and poems about race.

Nine faculty members have been granted tenure. Top row, l-r: Olivia Aguilar; Riché J. Daniel Barnes; Thomas Ciufo. Middle row, l-r: Naomi Darling; Nina Emery; Kerstin Nordstrom. Bottom row, l-r: Heather Pon-Barry; Jared Schwartzer; Jennifer Wallace Jacoby

Nine faculty receive tenure

The Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees has voted to grant tenure to nine faculty members spanning disciplines from gender studies to physics. 

This is a photo of Jennifer Jacoby.

Behind every successful lead teacher...

Mount Holyoke professor Jennifer Jacoby has been awarded a grant to study the unique contributions of assistant teachers in the Head Start program.

Recent Publications

Jacoby, J.W. (2021). Assistant teachers in Head Start: Important drivers of a diverse and competent workforce. Urban Institute.

Jacoby, J.W., & *Corwin-Renner, A. (2021). Assistant teachers, workplace satisfaction, and the creation of a culturally-competent workforce pipeline in Head Start. Journal of Career Development.

Jacoby, J.W. (2019). When, where, and how do Head Start teachers use Spanish in the context of English curriculum?: Increasing native language support in preschools. Perspectives: A Publication of the National Association for Bilingual Education, 43(2), 6-9.

Jacoby, J.W., & Edlefsen, K. [MHC '16] (2019). “I love Paw Patrol!”: Book selection and the allure of popular media characters among preschoolers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

Mancilla-Martinez, J. and Jacoby, J.W. (2018). The influence of risk factors on preschoolers' Spanish vocabulary development in the context of Spanish instruction. Early Education and Development. DOI:10.1080/10409289.2018.1442098

Recent Awards

Received the Taylor & Francis/National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators Foundation’s Outstanding Journal Article Award for 2019 for her article, Supporting Dual Language Learners in Head Start: Teacher Beliefs about Teaching Priorities and Strategies to Facilitate English Language Acquisition from the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. She was recently honored with the award at the NAECTE Annual Conference, which was held virtually on November 4.