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CRiCLE-Net: Alumni

CRiCLE students and SLEG PhD alumni are all members of the Second Language Education Group in the Faculty which provides an intellectual home for colleagues researching on second, foreign, heritage and additional language education.


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


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


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. She recently completed her MPhil in Research in Second Language Education in Cambridge's Faculty of Education. 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


Biljana Savikj

Biljana Savikj

Biljana completed her PhD student at the Faculty of Education following her MPhil degree in the Faculty. 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: Family language policy as parental mediation of capital, field and habitus: an ethnographic case study of transnational multilingual families


Yun Zhang

Yun Zhang

Yun is undertaking an MPhil in Research in Second Language Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She obtained her BA in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Nanjing University, China. During her undergraduate study, she had tutored CSL learners including Chinese heritage learners in Nanjing and had spent four months living in close contact with them. Currently, she is working on her MPhil thesis which looks at Chinese heritage language learners’ identity constructions in the study abroad context in China from a poststructuralist perspective.

MPhil Project: Constructing self by learning and using Chinese in the study abroad context: multiple case studies on identities of heritage and non-heritage English-speaking young adults


Ting Ding

Ting Ding

Ting recently completed her PhD at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge University and is currently a lecturer in Chinese at Shanghai Jiaotong University in Shanghai. She holds a BA from Beijing Foreign Studies University, an MA in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Peking University and an MPhil in Education from Cambridge University. Her current research interests include the learning of Chinese as a heritage language, the effect of study abroad on L2 proficiency and the interrelationship between language learning, language use and identity. She has taught Chinese as a heritage language/second language since 2006 in China and the UK and has published in this area.

PhD Project: Interactions between Chinese heritage language learning and identity in the study abroad context


Filio Constantinou

Filio Constantinou

Filio Constantinou is an educationist and an applied linguist. She holds a BA in Education Sciences (University of Cyprus), an MA in Language Learning and Education (University of York), an MPhil in Educational Research (University of Cambridge) and a PhD in Educational Linguistics (University of Cambridge). Her doctoral research focused on the linguistic challenges facing immigrant students in bidialectal communities. Her research interests span bilingualism, bidialectism, educational inequalities, language ideologies, writing performance and educational assessment. She is currently working as a researcher at the Research Division of Cambridge Assessment, University of Cambridge.

PhD Project: School-based writing in bidialectal settings and the challenges facing immigrant pupils


Dee Rutgers

Dieuwerke Rutgers

Dieuwerke (Dee) completed her MPhil and PhD in Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Dee first came to England as an exchange student from the Netherlands. As a result of her move to the UK, she became increasingly interested in what it means to be bi/multilingual and the impact this has on how we experience and influence the world, as well as on our cognition and learning processes. Dee currently works as a teacher-researcher at la Universidad de Las Américas (UDLA) in Quito, Ecuador, where her work focusses on the development of bilingual education (with both English and community languages) in Ecuador. Her current areas of interest are multilingualism and language learning, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), and the role of social interaction and language in learning and learner agency.

MPhil/PhD Project: Metalinguistic mediation in learning German as a third language within a Dutch-English bilingual education setting


Ruth Levine

Ruth Levine

Having completed PhD research into children’s identities as users of different languages at the University of Cambridge, Ruth has a keen interest in children with community and heritage languages. She is also committed to the broader field of language education. After teaching languages in schools in Cambridge, Conwy and Villach (Austria), she moved into research and teacher education. Following MEd study, she worked as a researcher on a government-funded study looking at language learning at Key Stage 3. Alongside PhD study, Ruth developed a one month intercultural programme for language teachers and trainees in China and has delivered this in the UK and in China. Before moving back to Cambridge, she worked in teacher education at Liverpool Hope University where she contributes to primary and secondary programmes.

PhD Project: Children's identities as users of languages: a case study of nine Key Stage 2 pupils with a range of home language profiles


Kseniya Tyshkevych

Kseniya Tyshkevych

Kseniya holds an MPhil in Research in Second Language Education from Cambridge, MPhil in Applied Linguistics from Greece, and BA in Foreign Languages from Ukraine. She has eleven years of experience of teaching Modern Greek and English in language schools in the UK, Greece, and Ukraine. After completing her MPhil in Cambridge, Kseniya worked as a Research Assistant for CRiCLE network project and conducted a bibliographic search on the literature in community language education. She was awarded a CEELBAS internship grant to receive training at the educational charity “Civilizations in Contact”. Kseniya currently resumed her teaching as a Greek tutor and prepares her first publication on the basis of her research projects. Her current research interest lies in the field of community/heritage language education and its impact on students’ general academic achievement.

MPhil Project: Proficiency in a community language and the sense of belonging: a case study of learners at a Greek community school in the UK


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


Petar Apostolov

Petar Apostolov

Petar completed his MPhil in Research in Second Language Education at Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge in 2013 and is currenlty an English language instructor at Jumeira University, United Arab Emirates. He also holds a BA in foreign languages at FON University in Skopje Macedonia and had been an exchange student at the University of Geogria, USA. Petar has an educational background in applied foreign languages and TEFL and three years of professional experience as a language teacher at the Center for Foreign Languages in Skopje. He has worked on a number of projects on language education and youth education, in collaboration with local and international NGOs. His current research interests lie in multilingualism and minority language integrated educational programmes in Macedonia.

MPhil Project: Teachers' perceptions about the role of minority language education in the conflict-ridden society of Macedonia 


Lin Zhang

Lin Zhang

Lin trained as a Chinese teacher in China and studied her MPhil in Education at Cambridge. Prior to coming to the UK, she obtained her Bachelors’ degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language at University of Jinan and worked as a part-time Chinese lecturer in the International Education & Exchange School. She has taught Chinese learners from diverse international backgrounds. Lin’s research interests include language use, language attitude and cultural identity of Chinese immigrants and community/heritage learners. Her MPhil project  investigated children's use of Chinese as a heritage language in three complementary schools in the UK.

MPhil Project: Language use among students in Chinese complementary schools in the UK: a mixed methods inquiry


Karen Ashton

Karen Ashton

Karen Ashton is Senior Lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand. She holds a PhD in cross-language comparability of reading proficiency from the University of Cambridge. Before joining Massey University, she was a Senior Research and Validation Manager at Cambridge Assessment in the UK and worked on several key projects, including Asset Languages, a multilingual assessment project for the Department for Education. She was also the project manager for the European Survey on Language Competences (SurveyLang), a project initiated by the European Commission which tested the language skills across 14 European countries. Her current research interests include ESOL, TESOL, community languages, assessment, the impact of assessments, comparability of assessments, international education surveys and large scale assessment methodology.

PhD Project: Comparing proficiency levels in an assessment context (Asset Languages): the construct of reading for secondary school learners of German, Japanese and Urdu in England


Past Working Group Members

Simin Zeng

Simin Zeng

Simin Zeng completed her PhD in Education at the University of Cambridge and was a member of Wolfson College. Her research interests include monitoring, self-repairing, communication strategies, community languages, classroom language teaching and learning, and English language teaching in China. She is currently working on her PhD project, which investigates how learners’ self-repair behaviour is affected by their classroom learning within different school settings in China (a state-run high school and a private A-level college). Prior to her Ph.D studies, Simin obtained her MPhil in Research in Second Language Education at the University of Cambridge.


Tianyi Wang

Tianyi Wang

Tianyi successfully completed her PhD in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, after the completion of her MPhil in Research in Second Language Education. She is currently working part-time at St Mary's Senior School in Cambridge. Her current research interests are language learning motivation, multilingualism and third language learning. Before her postgraduate study, Tianyi obtained her bachelor degree in English with particular focus on teaching Chinese as a foreign language at Sun Yat-sen University in China. She has also worked as a Chinese tutor for one year during her undergraduate study, which cultivated her initial interests in second language learning and teaching. Her PhD research is a mixed method study on Chinese learners' motivations in learning a third language in a Chinese university.


Rebecca Tron

Rebecca Tron

Rebecca Tron completed her MPhil in Psychology and Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Prior to this, she studied for her undergraduate Tripos in Education and English in the same faculty.

Her interests in Language Education come from her teaching of English in Italy and her dissertation research with Italian schools. Broadly speaking, her research interests include the cognitive processes of language acquisition and development, bilingual education and community language education.


Shi Pu

Shi Pu

Shi Pu recently completed her PhD at the Faculty of Education and is currently a postdoctoral lecturer at Beijing Foreign Studies University in China. She obtained an MA in Applied Linguistics in 2009 and taught English to undergraduate students at Beijing Foreign Studies University. She also worked in primary and secondary education, promoting English teacher education and coordinating national projects on teacher education in China. In 2012, she obtained an M.Phil Degree in Politics, Development and Democratic Education in the Faculty. Her current research interests extend to cultural and ideological issues in applied linguistics, identity in relation to language, community and heritage language education, and the history of Chinese English education. Her PhD looks at critical thinking and learner autonomy in second language education.