Department of Education

Viewing archives for Public Seminar


Assessing ‘how science works’ in the classroom: Insights from a Korean high school

Wonyong Park

DPhil student, University of Oxford, Department of Education


The ‘nature of science’, or ideas about what science is and how it works, has been highlighted as a core element of scientific literacy by science education researchers. Although many instruments have been developed to measure pupils’ NOS knowledge for research purposes, minimal attention has been given to how NOS can be assessed by teachers in the classroom. In this qualitative case study, I bring together NOS and classroom assessment theories to investigate how three science teachers engaged in the formative and summative assessment NOS in a Korean high school. Implications for NOS research and teacher education will be discussed.


“I would (not) teach proof, because it is (not) relevant to exams” – Changing beliefs about teaching proof

Chun-Yeung (Gabriel) Lee

DPhil student, University of Oxford, Department of Education


Experts in mathematics education agree that reasoning and proof are essential and should be made central to learning mathematics. However, some school teachers tend to focus on procedural skills because of different beliefs unfavourable for teaching proof. To address the need to promote beliefs and attitudes that encourage teachers to teach proof, I developed and studied a series of extracurricular workshops, for preservice teachers in Hong Kong. In this presentation, I discuss the findings in relation to (changing) their beliefs about the relevance of proof and exams.


The Department of Education is delighted to welcome to its Public Seminar Series Dr Lauren Stentiford (Lecturer in Education) and Dr George Koutsouris (Senior Lecturer in Education) from the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter.

‘Inclusive pedagogies’ have been recommended as an approach for addressing increased student diversity in the university classroom. Such an instructional approach might be seen as grounded in wider concerns about facilitating social justice and bringing about equity in an educational sphere traditionally seen as hierarchical and elitist.

In this seminar, we discuss the findings of a recent systematic scoping review we conducted to locate and synthesise published research on the topic of inclusive pedagogies in HE.

Our findings suggest that HE researchers do not share a common understanding of inclusive pedagogies and employ different conceptual and theoretical frameworks when investigating this approach. We suggest that inconsistency and fragmentation in perceptions of inclusive pedagogies is the result of inclusion itself being a philosophically contested matter; and that this needs to be reflected in the way that inclusive pedagogies are discussed in HE – even if this goes against current performative and market-driven trends that emphasise quick fixes over acknowledging the complexity of pedagogic issues.


The Department of Education is delighted to welcome to its Public Seminar Series Dr Joanna McIntyre, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham.

Social injustice is felt most keenly when ‘participatory parity’ (Fraser) is dependent upon material and human resources to which marginalized groups, such as refugees, have limited access. There is, therefore, an urgent need, to do better for the most disenfranchised.

Meaningful inclusive models of education for are vital in any reconceptualization of society in a post-pandemic world, where, across the globe, ‘ordinary life’ (Kohli) for refugee teenagers during and following lockdown changed as it did for all young people.

I will draw on research into educational provision for refugees (conducted before the pandemic) as we consider how societies can provide a more inclusive model of education for new arrivals who are trying to navigate ways of building meaningful futures in their new context.

The local context for the research evidence is England, but the evidence and arguments speak to other international resettlement contexts. I outline a theoretical model for the inclusion of refugees in education which has been shaped by practitioners (McIntyre and Abrams 2021). Kohli’s theory of ‘resumption of ordinary life’, and Fraser’s ‘participatory parity’ underpin the model.

The emerging theoretical principles and practical actions can inform ongoing and more just practices as illustrated through the case of a bespoke educational provision for refugees which operationalised the theorised model. The examples demonstrate how we can develop purposeful educational opportunities for succeeding, imbuing in new arrivals a sense of safety and the beginnings of social belonging contributing towards present and future inclusion and participation in their new society.







An optimal caregiving environment during the perinatal period is critical for the healthy development of infants. Challenges to optimal development include poor nutrition, a chaotic and stressful environment and, critically, insensitive and unresponsive caregiving. Infants are at higher risk of maltreatment than any other age group and have a higher-than-average risk of being the victims of homicide. Despite their vulnerabilities, infants deemed to be at risk of harm are often not given adequate protection within a time frame that is consistent with their developmental needs. Furthermore, an increasing number of infants are being removed at birth due to failures to identify and support pregnant women with recognised risks, many of whom have no specialist input until late in pregnancy.

This online seminar focusses on child protection in the period from conception to birth. This is a significant issue in view of widespread evidence concerning the high (and apparently growing) number of infants removed from birth parents within the first few weeks of life, in several different countries. The seminar will explore the following issues:

• Community-level assessment and intervention

• Pre-birth assessment: timeframes and processes

• Supporting pregnant and newly-delivered women whose infants are at risk of harm

• Effective interventions in preventing repeat removals

• Guidelines for humane and sensitive practice when infant removal is necessary

Key presentations from the seminar will be published in a special issue of Child Abuse Review. Participants are also invited to submit abstracts for papers to be considered for this Special issue:




Zoom Meeting ID: 994 8163 8335, Password: 958790

Self-efficacy, an individual’s confidence in their ability to effectively execute a desired task, has long been recognised as one of the most important factors in human functioning, making it an attractive concept from the perspective of education. Questions such as: How does self-efficacy develop? or What are the factors contributing to self-efficacy development? have been the object of (mathematics) education research for several decades.

In this seminar, Karin and Gosia will present their most recent works in the field of self-efficacy, in which they focused on answering questions related to self-efficacy appraisal and development, while addressing issues revolving around the meaning, measurement and operationalisation of the concept. Karin will discuss how she used factor analyses to investigate the structural validity of Norwegian students’ level, strength, and facet-specific mathematics self-efficacy, and structural equation models to investigate changes in self-efficacy over time. Gosia will explain how, utilising an abductive interpretative phenomenological analysis, she engaged with ‘English’ pre-service secondary mathematics teachers’ meaning-making in the narrative process of their teacher self-efficacy appraisal.

This seminar will provide an opportunity to gain insight into the current state of the field of self-efficacy in mathematics education and engage in a wider discussion about different methodologies employed in search for answers to longstanding questions.



‘Plurilingual teaching and its effects on foreign language development

Professor Holger Hopp, Dr Jenny Jakisch and Sarah Sturm (Technische Universität Braunschweig)

Research indicates that plurilingual teaching, i.e. integrating the learners’ (home) language repertoire into the teaching of a foreign language (FL), can improve FL achievement (Busse et al., 2019; Leonet et al., 2019). Against this background, we will present findings of a project in which a plurilingual approach to teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) was implemented in four primary schools (year 4) in Lower Saxony, Germany, for 6 months. In each school, the English lessons of one group (intervention group) were extended by integrating the participants’ home languages whereas in the other group (comparison group) regular “monolingual” EFL lessons were conducted.

In our talk, we will present the research design as well as the teaching methods and materials that were used in the intervention group. We will also discuss how the young learners experienced the plurilingual lessons. Furthermore, we will show which effects the different teaching approaches had on the participants’ English achievement (vocabulary and grammar) and metalinguistic awareness by presenting data from longitudinal pre- and post-tests.

The data indicate that both monolingual and plurilingual participants gain FL competence during the 6-month intervention. However, the intervention group did not show differential learning gains compared to the comparison group. When testing for specific grammatical phenomena that were subject to instruction in the plurilingual lessons (e.g. questions), we found that the intervention group outperformed the control group. We conclude that addressing specific learners‘ plurilingual resources may support them in learning a foreign language. In our talk, we discuss the results and the potentials of plurilingual foreign language teaching.

References: Busse, V., Cenoz, J., Dalmann, N., & Rogge, F. (2019). Addressing Linguistic Diversity in the Language Classroom in a Resource‐Oriented Way: An Intervention Study With Primary School Children. Language Learning, 31(1), 1–38.

Leonet, O., Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2019). Developing morphological awareness across languages: translanguaging pedagogies in third language acquisition. Language Awareness, 79(2), 1–19.


Holger Hopp: Holger Hopp is a professor of English Linguistics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany). In his research, he investigates child and adult L2/3 acquisition and processing as well as heritage language acquisition and attrition. He uses several psycholinguistic methods to determine the directionality, scope and degree of cross-linguistic influence in bi- and multilingual speakers of different ages.

Jenny Jakisch: Jenny Jakisch is lecturer and researcher at the department of English and American Studies, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Her PhD dealt with the role of English language teaching (ELT) for fostering multilingualism. Her current research interests include teacher education, classroom management and inclusive ELT.

Sarah Sturm: Sarah Sturm is a research assistant and PhD student at the department of English and American Studies, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Her research interests include multilingualism, teaching English as a foreign language (with a focus on young learners) and learning strategies. In her PhD project, she is investigating the use of language learning strategies by young multilingual foreign language learners.




‘Settling Into Semantic Space: An Ambiguity-Focused Account of Word-Meaning

Professor Jenni Rodd (UCL)

Most words are ambiguous: individual wordforms (e.g., “run”) can map onto multiple different interpretations depending on their sentence context (e.g., “the athlete/politician/river runs”). Models of word-meaning access must therefore explain how listeners and readers are able to rapidly settle on a single, contextually appropriate meaning for each word that they encounter. I will present a new account of word-meaning access that places semantic disambiguation at its core.

The model has three key characteristics. (i) Lexical-semantic knowledge is viewed as a high-dimensional space; familiar word meanings correspond to stable states within this lexical-semantic space. (ii) Multiple linguistic and paralinguistic cues can influence the settling process by which the system resolves on one of these familiar meanings. (iii) Learning mechanisms play a vital role in facilitating rapid word-meaning access by shaping and maintaining high quality lexical-semantic knowledge.

Bio: Professor Jenni Rodd conducts research into how we understand the meanings of the words that we hear or read, and how we combine together the information from individual words to construct representations of the meanings of sentences. She has a particular interest in how we use our recent and long-term experience with language to improve the efficiency of these processes. She is the director of The Word Lab and a Professor of Cognitive Psychology in the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL.



‘Multilingualism in underprivileged contexts: literacy and cognition

Professor Ianthi M. Tsimpli (University of Cambridge)

Much research in multilingualism and its effects on cognition and language ability has focused on individuals in western societies. Socioeconomic status, language of education and language prestige have been identified as some of the factors that appear to influence bi/multilingual individuals’ linguistic and cognitive profile although most research on the role of bilingualism on cognition has not capitalized on such factors. I will focus on multilingualism in India, one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world (UNESCO, 2009). Linguistic variation across Indian speakers is vast and includes variation in the number of home languages used, societal/community languages, official medium of instruction in schools and actual language practices in the classroom.

As language is the primary vehicle of education and learning, variation in any of the above measures of multilingualism can affect the language experience of the school child and have knock-on effects on the development of school skills (basic and higher literacy and numeracy), or cognition. Focusing on the data from 1200 children from urban primary schools in Delhi and Hyderabad and from rural areas in Patna, all from deprived or severely deprived socioeconomic backgrounds, I will try to disentangle how language experience and linguistic diversity in the child’s immediate environment (school, family, community) affect school skills and cognitive abilities.

Participants attend government primary schools in slum vs. non-slum urban areas of Delhi and Hyderabad, or town vs. rural areas in Patna, as part of a four-year, large-scale research project (MultiLila). They were assessed on mathematical reasoning, word, sentence and text reading, as well as non-verbal IQ, inhibition and complex working memory skills. Children attend English-medium or regional language medium schools (Hindi or Telugu), meaning that their assessment, textbooks and language used in the classroom is the official medium of instruction.

Although the language of textbooks and assessment match the official medium of instruction, language practices in the classroom include language mixing with English-only input ranging from zero to 40%, in English-medium schools. Taking into account the child’s home language(s) and the extent to which they are used in the classroom I will present the participants’ performance on linguistic, reasoning and cognitive skills. Results indicate a significant effect of multilingualism and linguistic diversity in the cognitive and school skills of children from underprivileged socioeconomic background.


Professor Ianthi Maria Tsimpli works on language development in the first and second language in children and adults, as well as on language impairment, attrition, bilingualism, language processing and the interaction between language, cognitive abilities and print exposure. She recently held the positions of Professor of Multilingualism and Cognition at the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading and the positions of Professor of Psycholinguistics and Director of the Language Development Lab at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Professor Tsimpli held a ‘Guest of the Rector’ Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences for six months in 2012, a Visiting Professorship for six months at the University of Cyprus in 2007, and a Visiting Scholar position at the Collaborative Research Centre on Multilingualism at the University of Hamburg in 2005. She is Associate Editor of Lingua and member of the Editorial Board of the journals Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Second Language Research, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, Journal of Applied Linguistics, Biolinguistics (e-journal), Journal of Greek Linguistics and of the Book Series “Language Acquisition and Language Disorders”.



‘A teaching intervention may not reduce the effects of L2 orthographic forms on L2 pronunciation and phonological awareness’

Dr Bene Bassetti (University of Birmingham)

The orthographic forms (spellings) of second language words can affect how L2 learners and L2 users pronounce L2 sounds, even after years of immersion in an L2 environment. It is however not known whether a training intervention can reduce such orthographic effects on L2 phonology. This paper will report the results of a study (Bassetti, Cerni & Masterson, under review) that investigated whether a teaching intervention can reduce the effects of L2 orthographic forms on L2 pronunciation and awareness.

Previous studies found that Italian learners of L2 English produce and categorise the same English consonant as two different sounds: a short consonant if it is spelled with one letter, and as a geminate (a long consonant) if it is spelled with double letters. This is because in written double consonant letters represent geminates, and Italian native speakers therefore recode English double consonant letters. Bassetti and colleagues used a randomised controlled trial design, and allocated 100 Italian high-school students to a phonological intervention or a control group.

The teaching intervention group explored the correspondences between double letters and sound length in English, using reflection, explicit teaching and practice. The control group practiced the same English spoken and written words without mentions of orthography. All participants performed a delayed word repetition task and phonological awareness task twice, pre- and post-intervention. The teaching intervention had no effects. It appears that once orthographic effects on L2 phonology are established, they are difficult to eliminate, whether with extensive naturalistic exposure or with a teaching intervention.

Reference: Bassetti, B., Cerni, T., & Masterson, J. (under review) Efficacy of a teaching intervention to reduce the effects of orthographic forms on second language phonology: A randomized controlled trial

Bio: Dr Bassetti is an applied linguist, who is researching bilingualism and second language learning. In particular, Dr Bassetti is investigating the learning and use of second language writing systems (scripts/orthographies), and bilingual cognition (language and thought in bilinguals and language learners). Dr Bassetti leads Language and Condition at Birmingham (LACAB).