Dr. Rachel L. Toncelli

Rachel Toncelli
Department, Office, or School
Department of Educational Studies
  • Assistant Professor
  • TENGSL Coordinator

Rachel Toncelli is as Assistant Professor in the TESOL Program. She received a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the Università degli studi di Firenze and an M.Ed. in TESOL from Rhode Island College. Rachel received her doctorate in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at Northeastern University. She began her career teaching EFL in Italy and has since taught university-level ESL, Italian, and a variety of courses in TESOL to graduate students. Rachel came to RIC from Brown University where she was the Director of English Language Learning and Assistant Dean of the College. While at Brown, Rachel co-founded the International Writers’ Blog, a platform for international and ELL writers to explore cross-cultural experiences. Rachel speaks English and Italian and lives in Cumberland with her husband and three children. You can follow her blog at https://www.edu-exchange.net/.


Tulane University, Bachelor's Degree Anthropology & Philosophy
Università degli studi di Firenze, Master's Degree Anthropology
Rhode Island College, M.Ed. in TESOL
Northeastern University, Ed.D. Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, & Leadership

Selected Publications

Co-founded International Writers' Blog at Brown University (2014) 

"Using Blogging to Develop Writing Skills and Bridge Cultures"
Presented at TESOL 2016 Conference in Baltimore, MD 

"A World of Dual Language Books for Young Emergent Bilinguals"
Presenting at TESOL 2017 Conference in Seattle, WA  

“Translanguaging in the Drafting Process: Writing Across Cultural Styles”
Invited Speaker at RITELL 2018 Conference in Providence, RI 

“Envisioning Dual Language Bilingual Education in New England” Invited Keynote Speaker MABE Dual Language Education Symposium 2019 

“Linguistic Landscapes: Harnessing Home Language for Inclusive School Ecologies”
Presented at TESOL 2019 Conference in Atlanta, GA 

Hesson, S. & Toncelli, R. (2019). Making the path by walking together: A collaborative approach to advocacy In Linville, H. & Whiting, J. (Eds.), Advocacy in English Language Teaching and Learning. New York, NY: Routledge. 

“Using Dual Language Books for Language Development and Cross-Cultural Competence”
Presented at WIDA 2019 Conference in Providence, RI 

“The Power of Engaging Self in Teacher Preparation Programs”
Presented at the Critical Questions in Education Conference/Academy for Educational Studies in Seattle, WA (February 2020)


TESL 539 Second Language Acquisition Theory & Practice
TESL 541 Applied Linguistics in TESOL
TESL 551 Assessment of Emergent Bilinguals
TESL 553 TESOL and Bilingual Education Practicum 
TESL 599 Graduate Essay in TESOL

Research Interests

Rachel’s research interests include the use of storytelling to bridge cultural divides and empower students to use writing as a tool for social justice; she is particularly focused on developing critical positionality in teacher preparation foster asset-based positioning of cultural and linguistic diversity.