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Dr Yongcan Liu

Second language teacher development; sociocultural theories of learning and SLA; community/heritage/minority language acquisition and education
Dr Yongcan Liu

University Lecturer in Second Language Education

Second language teacher development

Sociocultural theories of learning and SLA

Community/heritage/minority language acquisition and education

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 767692

Departments and Institutes

Faculty of Education:

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, Yongcan's research is based on two sociocultural theoretical frameworks: (1) Community of Practice theory, from a sociological/anthropological perspective, focuses on issues of identity, practice and social participation; (2) Cultural Historical Activity Theory, from a socio-cognitive perspective, deals with issues such as mediation, regulation and potential development. He brings together these two theoretical perspectives to understand the social nature of second language teaching, learning and teacher professional development. His recent research focuses on language development, social integration and educational achievement of children with an immigrant background.


  • Language teacher education
  • Second language education
  • Multilingualism

Key Publications

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.

Liu, Y., and Fisher, L. (2010). ‘What have we learnt after we had fun’: An activity theory perspective on the cultures of learning in pedagogical reforms. In V. Ellis, A. Edwards, and P. Smagorinsky (Eds.), Cultural-historical perspectives on teacher education and development: Learning teaching (pp. 180-195). Oxon: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.

Xu, Y., and Liu, Y. (2009). Teacher assessment knowledge and practice: A narrative inquiry of a Chinese EFL teachers’ experience. TESOL Quarterly, 43(3), 493-513.