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CRiCLE-Net: Current Students

CRiCLE students and alumni are all members of the Second Language Education Group in the Faculty of Education, which hosts or involves in a range of teaching and learning programmes.

PhD/EdD in Second Language Education (SLE)
MPhil/MEd in Research in Second Language Education (RSLE)
PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
Tripos Undergraduate Module in Language, Communication and Literacies (LCL)
PPD Certificate/Diploma Projects in English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Katherine Bussiere


Katie completed her MPhil in Research in Second Language Education in 2017. She holds a BA in English from Mount Holyoke College. Prior to Cambridge, she worked as a language tutor for immigrants in the U.S. and has experience teaching English at universities in Chile and Brazil. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in 2015. Upon arrival to the UK, her volunteer experience in ESOL classes for refugees prompted her to investigate the topic for her MPhil project. Her dissertation looked at the language learning and social integration experiences of Syrian refugees in the UK. Her current research interests lie similarly at the intersection of ESOL, migration and social integration.

MPhil project: “I Cannot Speak”: a case study of five Syrian refugees' language learning and social integration experiences in England

Yuxin Feng

Yuxin Feng

Yuxin Feng is an MPhil candidate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She holds a BA in Italian Language and Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University. During her undergraduate study she studied in Italy as an exchange student which extended her interest in multilingualism and language learning, heritage language acquisition and maintenance. She also taught English to high school students in China and was involved in the development of a corpus of Chinese EFL students’ writing. Her current research interests include heritage language education, language learning motivation, language and identity, second language acquisition and socialisation. Her MPhil project is a case study that looks at the motivational dynamics of Chinese heritage language learners in Italy.

MPhil project: Motivational dynamics in heritage language learning: an Italian-Chinese perspective

Michael James

Michael James

Michael is an MPhil candidate (Research in Second Language Education) at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He holds a BA with majors in English Literature, Philosophy, and Chinese, as well as a BA (Hons) in joint English/Philosophy, and a MA in English Literature from Rhodes University. After experimenting with learning Esperanto in his first year of university, he developed an increasing interest in language learning – both in formal and informal settings. He has tutored both English and Chinese to L2 learners. His current research interests include L2 motivation, low-status language learning in post-colonial/conflict-ridden contexts, and the role(s) that religion and philosophy play in L2 education and educational research. His recently completed MPhil thesis was a study of South African L1 English university students' motivations for learning isiXhosa.

MPhil project: The motivations of South African students with L1 English for learning isiXhosa as an additional language: a mixed methods study

Harper Staples

Harper Staples

Harper is a current PhD student in the Faculty of Education. Her research focuses on the development and negotiation of multilingual identity in adolescent language learners during the L3 acquisition process, and aims to explore what factors impact, positively or negatively, upon the construction of multilinguality in different contexts of learning. She is particularly interested in the dynamic relationship between the individual and their context and the application of complexity theories in educational research. Prior to joining MEITS, she completed a Masters degree in Theoretical Linguistics at the University of Oxford, and has worked in the fields of foreign language teaching and translation in both France and Denmark.

PhD project: The complex construction of multilingual identity: exploring the dynamics between self and context in the process of L3 acquisition

Silke Zschomler

Silke Zschomler

Silke is a continuing PhD student at the Faculty of Education following the completion of her MPhil degree. She has a particular interest in the intersections between social class and second language learning in the transnational migration context which has developed throughout her academic and professional career. Prior to joining the Faculty, Silke has completed a degree in social sciences in Germany as well as a degree in TESOL in the UK. She also holds a Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA). Her professional involvement and experience in the field include work for the City of Berlin in an advisory service for migrants and several years of teaching ESOL and EFL in London.

MPhil Project: A critical hermeneutic phenomenology of adult migrant language learners’ experience of social class in London: Struggles for value and values and the potential transformative impact of the language classroom

PhD Project: Contesting space for transformation: a critical ethnography of the politics, practice, and lived experience of second language learning in the adult migrant context in London

Courtney Roy

Courtney Roy

Courtney Roy graduated from the Faculty of Education with an MPhil in Research in Second Language Education. Previously, she earned an B.S. Hon. in Exceptional Education from the University of Central Florida, along with a Psychology minor and TEFL certification. Courtney has been actively involved in a wide variety of learning and linguistic environments, including an English summer school for lower-socioeconomic children in the Middle East. These experiences have encouraged her to conduct research with English Learners, focusing upon instructional strategies and curriculum in multicultural contexts. Courtney is passionate to investigate international policies surrounding education. She is currently a facilitator of student-led language instruction, and serves as a mentor to first-generation university applicants.

MPhil Project: The languages of maths and science: Code switching perceptions and practices between Ghanaian languages and English in Ga West classrooms

Joy Okwuonu

Joy Okwuonu

Joy Okwuonu is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge who is studying Education with English. Her Igbo heritage and her apparent inability to proficiently understand and communicate in Igbo has stimulated her interest in: the view that indigenous language learning is dwindling among youths and children living in African diaspora. This interest also encompasses investigating the need to make the paths to language learning more accessible to children and adults alike – especially considering the potential social and cultural benefits. Her previous volunteering opportunities in nursery, primary and secondary schools have contributed another area of interest: that is, the interaction between introverted or more reserved personality types in the classroom environment and later language and communication competency.

Hiroko Roberts-Taira

Hiroko Roberts-Taira

Hiroko Roberts-Taira is the administrator at the Kaetsu Educational & Cultural Centre. She graduated from Waseda University (Tokyo) and taught Japanese literature in Japanese high schools. She also taught Japanese as a foreign language in The British School in Tokyo and Sheffield Hallam University & HE (UK). Hiroko founded Nihongo Club for Japanese bilingual children in the Cambridge area in 2002. She also started a Japanese studying group for Japanese bilingual high school students in 2012 and Japanese reading club associated to the International Children’s Bunko Association for young Japanese speakers in 2013. Her current research interests lie in bilingual education, Japanese education in the UK, Japanese community school, language and identity.

MPhil Project: Young community language learners' literacy development in a Japanese complementary school in the UK

aretousa   giannakou

Aretousa Giannakou

Aretousa holds a BA in Spanish Philology, a BA in Education Sciences (both from the University of Athens, Greece), a Specialization Diploma in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (Catholic University of Chile), a Master’s degree in Latin American Literature (University of Chile), and an MPhil in Research in Second Language Education (University of Cambridge). She has taught Modern Greek as a second/foreign language in Chile for six years seconded by the Greek Ministry of Education. Aretousa is currently a PhD student in Spanish and Portuguese at the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages of the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research aims to investigate the change in the linguistic repertoire of Greek heritage speakers in South America.

PhD Project: Morpho-syntactic change in the linguistic repertoire of Greek heritage speakers in South America

Mee Kyoung Kim

Mee Kyoung Kim

Mia is an MPhil/PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She is interested in the relationship between language, cognition and emotion in multi-cultural contexts and how individuals become bicultural and bilingual. She is currently looking at shame-related verbal expressions among Korean-English heritage bilingual learners in the US and the UK. Prior to coming to Cambridge, Mia graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education with an EdM in Human Development and Psychology (2007) and lived there, where she developed her passion to further study Korean-English bilinguals' life focusing on their language use.

MPhil/PhD Project: The influence of language on how Korean-English heritage bilingual learners experience and express shame

Rob  Neal

Rob Neal

After graduating from the University of Birmingham (BA Hons: French and German), Rob spent two years in Japan where he worked as an assistant English teacher. He then completed a Masters degree in TESOL at Lancaster University before teaching English for two and a half years at Peking University. Upon returning to England he did a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages at Sheffield University and currently teaches Mandarin at an inner city school in Manchester where most of the students are from minority ethnic backgrounds. He is currently studying for an MEd/PhD at Cambridge University where he is researching why the acquisition of Mandarin tones is so challenging for Anglophone learners. He has been involved in the 'Our Languages' Project which emphasizes collaboration between 'mainstream' and 'community' schools.

MEd/PhD Project: Learning Mandarin tones in an English secondary school: A developmental study

Biljana Savikj

Biljana Savikj

Biljana is a continuing PhD student at the Faculty of Education following the completion of her MPhil degree. Prior to joining the Faculty, Biljana did her BA in English Language and Literature at Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia. Biljana has taught English as a foreign language to primary and secondary school students as well as adults for five years. She has also worked as a Grade teacher in an international school in Macedonia which involved teaching school subjects in English to students with different first languages and social backgrounds. This experience instilled in Biljana passion to investigate multilingualism, social mobility and second language acquisition, socialisation in multicultural settings, and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).

PhD Project: At the crossroads between community languages and English: A Bourdieuian perspective on the relationship between family language practice in multilingual migrant families and language ideologies in education in England

Shanshan Yan

Shanshan Yan

Shanshan completed her MPhil in Research in Second Language Education at the Faculty of Education, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Chinese linguistics at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. Before coming to Cambridge, she had some research experience in grammar acquisition of Chinese as a second language as well as experience of teaching mandarin Chinese during her MA study at Peking University in China. She currently teaches Mandarin Chinese as a second/heritage language at FAMES. Based on her research background, she is particularly interested in Chinese language acquisition by L2 learners, language learning motivation research, and Chinese as a heritage language.

MPhil Project: Motivation in heritage language learning: A multi-case study of Chinese heritage language learners studying on an L2 Chinese programme in Mainland China

PhD Project: Chinese sentence final particles and their behaviours in learners of Chinese as a second/heritage language