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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre


Broadly speaking, Yongcan’s research is based on two sociocultural theoretical frameworks: (1) Lave and Wenger's Community of Practice (CoP) theory, focusing on the ideas of participation, distributed cognition and situated practice; (2) Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory (SCT) of mind, which takes a socio-cognitive view and mainly deals with issues such as mediation, cognitive regulation and potential development. He brings together these two theoretical perspectives to understand the social nature and processes of second language teaching, learning and teacher development. Yongcan also has a long-standing interest in combining linguistic and social analysis in educational research. He has been involved in a series of linked projects on bilingual EAL children's language development, social integration and educational achievement. The findings of the EAL Assessment Project have been published as 'The EAL Assessment Framework for Schools', which is made available for all primary and secondary schools in England to assess bilingual children and to support teaching, planning and monitoring in schools. He is co-investigator of a flagship policy project on multilingualism funded by AHRC, crossing the disciplines of arts, literature, linguistics, education, neuroscience and health.


Key publications: 

Wang, T., & Liu, Y. (2017). Dynamic L3 selves: A longitudinal study of five university L3 learners’ motivational trajectories in China. The Language Learning Journal.

Liu, Y., Fisher, L., Forbes, K., & Evans, M. (2017). The knowledge base of teaching in linguistically diverse contexts: 10 grounded principles of multilingual classroom pedagogy for EAL. Language and Intercultural Communication, 17(4), 378-395.

Liu, Y. (2013). The social organisation of talk-in-interaction at work in a language teacher professional community. Learning Culture and Social Interaction, 2(3), 195-207.

Liu, Y. and Xu, Y. (2013). The trajectory of learning in a teacher community of practice. Research Papers in Education, 28(2), 176-195.

Liu, Y. and Xu, Y. (2011). Inclusion or exclusion?: A narrative inquiry of a language teacher’s identity experience in the ‘new work order’ of competing pedagogies. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(3), 589-597.

Reader in Applied Linguistics and Languages Education
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