skip to primary navigation skip to content


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)

Giorgio MolteniGiorgio Molteni

Giorgio is a MEd student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He holds an MA in Philology, Literature and History of Antiquity from the University of Milan (2017), with a focus on historical linguistics, followed by a PGCE in Latin and Classics at the University of Cambridge (2020). He currently teaches Latin and Classical Civilisation at a selective secondary school and Sixth Form in Wiltshire. For the past three years he has also been teaching adult Italian classes. His MEd thesis focuses on the learning of Italian as a heritage language and the specific components of heritage language learners’ motivation. His interests range from heritage language learning to adult language acquisition and linguistic change within multilingual communities.

MEd Project: Cuore italiano (The Italian heart). A comparative case study on heritage and non-heritage motivation in four Italian learners in the UK.

Julia JakobJulia Jakob

Julia is pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, where she studies compulsory German language courses for refugees in Austria. Her research adopts a solidarity-based perspective and draws on decolonial and black feminist thought. She is particularly interested in issues of gender, learner identity, and motivation in adult language education. Julia has worked as a German and English language teacher in different contexts in Austria and has experience as a translator. She holds a degree from the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Vienna, which she completed before coming to Cambridge as an MPhil student. Additionally, she is part of the organising team of the Decolonising Language Education Collective, an international initiative for critically reflecting on language education research and practice.

PhD Project: Beyond the “gender gap”: Multifaceted masculinities in L2 courses for refugees in Austria

Heidi PerezHeidy Perez-Cordero

Heidy M. Perez-Cordero is a PhD student researcher at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on exploring the Identity of Language Teachers Through Applied Drama. Her interests include teacher’s training & wellbeing, decolonizing education, creative research, and the correlation between identity and pedagogy. She has been an educator for 16 years in Puerto Rico, US, and UK; promoting creative arts, democratic teaching-learning process, dance, movement, and applied drama. She is currently the Chair of Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, and, previously, the Chair and outreach coordinator of Escuelita CIC, a Cambridge heritage Spanish language school. She holds a M.A. in Educational Theatre from NYU, and a B.A. in Secondary Education majoring in Theatre from the University of Puerto Rico.

PhD Project: The Accidental Language Teacher: Exploring the self through applied drama to inform pedagogy

Samy EtienneSamy Etienne

Samy is a EdD student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He holds a MA in English and French Studies from the University of Bordeaux and he did a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages at the University of Bath. He also holds the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership from the Institute of Education. Samy is currently head of French and head of house at a selective independent school in London. His main interests lie in the role of metacognition in second language acquisition learning, the specificities of the metacognition needs of learning in secondary schools and positive psychology. His research project focuses on both language learners’ and teachers’ emotions in the language learning and teaching process..

EdD Project: The emotional dynamics in the languages classroom

Zixuan LiZixuan Li

Zixuan is a PhD student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She also holds an MPhil degree in Research in Second Language Education in the Faculty. Her main interests lie in language learning motivation, multilingualism, and positive psychology. She is particularly interested in the motivational profiles of LOTEs learners across various contexts. Prior to joining the Faculty, Zixuan completed her BA in English studies at Southeast University in China and had been an exchange student at the University of California, Los Angeles and Israel Institute of Technology. Her current PhD project aims to apply Positive Psychology principles to understand learners’ L2 learning experience and its relationship with future selves.

PhD Project: What makes a flourishing language self? A positive psychology perspective on LOTE language learning motivation

Jenson DeokiesinghJenson 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 XiaoLini 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

Yue ZhouYue 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: Towards a theory of heritage language learner wellbeing: a mixed methods study of Chinese heritage language learners

Michael JamesMichael 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

Silke ZschomlerSilke 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: Reimagining migrant language education from the bottom up: an ethnographic study

Rob NealRob 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