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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 Language and Education (LAE)
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)


Jenson Deokiesingh

Jenson is a PhD student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the Faculty, Jenson worked for two and a half years in Macau, China, as an English language instructor. His professional involvement in TESOL also includes working with refugees in the United Kingdom, and high school and special needs students in Japan. He holds a MA in TESOL from the University of Leeds. His research interests lie in racism and social justice in education which stems from his personal experiences of discrimination in the ELT industry. His research focuses on the stories of Caribbean diaspora English teachers, their multiple identities, prejudices they encounter, and how they may be used as a locus to challenge policies and practices that legitimise discrimination in education.

PhD Project: Stories from the periphery Centre: Counter-stories of Anglophone Caribbean teachers on the Pathology of Racisms in TESOL

Lini Xiao

Lini Xiao

Lini is a continuing PhD student in the Faculty of Education following the completion of her MPhil degree in Research in Second Language Education. Her research interests include language and identity, language socialisation, and multilingualism. She is particularly interested in bringing together sociolinguistic theories of language and situated cognition theories to understand the social nature of and social implications for language use and development in contexts of migration and linguistic diversity. Prior to joining the Faculty, she received her BA in English from Sun Yat-sen University in China and studied linguistics at University of Cologne in Germany for one year as an exchange student. Lini’s PhD project aims to explore the socially situated nature of heritage language development and its symbiotic relationship with identity formation.

PhD Project: Heritage language learners on the move?: An ethnographic case study of the transnational process of language maintenance in a Chinese complementary school in the context of new Chinese migration to Britain

Katherine Bussiere

Catherine 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

Yue Zhou

Yue Zhou

Yue is PhD student who also completed her MPhil in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her current research interests include issues and discourses of identities, heritage language learning, and multilingualism. Her MPhil project focused on the lived experiences and multiple identities of adult heritage language learners of Chinese. Prior to her postgraduate studies, Yue obtained a BA in English at Nankai University in China and had been an exchange student at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her MPhil project examines the life histories and experiences of learning heritage language of new Chinese migrants in the UK.

MPhil Project: Contesting the essentialised Chineseness: the life-histories of three British Chinese adults

PhD Project: The role of heritage language in promoting Asian immigrant children's wellbeing

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

PhD Project: Black tongues, white voices: the oral histories of white South Africans learning black indigenous languages in the post-aparthied new South Africa

Tazreen Kassim-Lowe

Tazreen Kassim-Lowe

Tazreen completed her MEd in Research in Second Language Education in 2017. Prior to this, she trained for her PGCE in primary teaching at the faculty of education, Cambridge. She holds a BA in Sociology and Education from the University of Keele where she was fortunate enough to publish her third year dissertation on Multiple Intelligence theory in practice. Over her years of study she has enjoyed short term placements abroad teaching English as a foreign language in countries including Italy and Thailand. Her range of experience in classrooms, both abroad and the UK, ignited her interest to research the teaching and learning of vocabulary for bilingual children of primary school age. She is currently a full time teacher and assists with the provision of EAL support in her current school. Her research interests include vocabulary acquisition, multiple intelligences as a pedagogy, teacher development and multilingual appreciation.

MEd Project: Bilingual children and vocabulary acquisition mediated through a self-made, visual learning tool

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

Joy Okwuonu

Joy Okwuonu

Joy Okwuonu completed her BA in Education with English and is currently doing her MPhil in Education and International Development at the University of Cambridge. 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.

aretousa   giannakou

Aretousa Giannakou

Aretousa recently completed her PhD in Spanish linguistics in Cambridge. She 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 and Linguistics (MMLL) 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