Language, Literacies and Learning Research Group

The Surrey Language, Literacies and Learning Research Group is interested in the role of language and literacies in different learning contexts. 

Our research

Our research focuses on exploring and understanding how students and teachers use linguistic and interactional repertoires to develop conceptual understanding as well as how students and teachers develop literacies in a variety of contexts.

We examine the areas of linguistics and literacies in educational contexts including compulsory school contexts, higher education and teacher education. 

Our research includes the following topics: 

  • Acculturation, adjustment and belonging: an ethnographic study of international students in theatre societies
  • Communicative language teaching in Saudi Arabia 
  • Teaching stylistics in the creative writing classroom 
  • The German modal particle ‘mal’ in reality TV shows 
  • Factors influencing the development of active trilingualism in childhood  
  • Self-regulation in vocabulary learning in Saudi Arabia 
  • English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in China  
  • Chinese language learning in educational institutions of Pakistan 
  • Effects of practical elements in teacher education programmes on students' pedagogical content knowledge 
  • Willingness to communicate through teacher classroom behaviour and strategies in the Saudi context 
  • Integrating physical comedy on Saudi EFL tertiary students' lexis acquisition affect and motivation 
  • Experiences of migrant English language teachers 
  • Translating science: developing a first-language oriented academic writing assistant to support Brazilian researchers publishing in English 
  • Refusal strategies and misunderstanding in Jordanian Arabic and British English.
  • Students’ experiences: Neoliberal expectations and students’ mental health in British higher education. 
  • Exploring the perceptions of Saudi and Chinese 'Z Generation' English Language Learners of the desired qualities of English language teachers.
  • The effect of flipped learning approach on teacher candidates’ argumentation skills.

Current projects

  • 2020 – 2021 Staff and Educational Development Society (SEDA) grant: Developing a dialogic teaching approach to teach critical thinking skills 
  • 2019 – 2021 British Academy grant: Supporting Exiled Syrian Academics in preparing journal articles from research 
  • 2020 – 2021 Collaborative project with University of New South Wales, Australia: Scoping study on oracy and equality 
  • 2020 – 2021 Collaborative project with Birkbeck University, UK: Translanguaging in collaborative research project meetings: linguistic repertoires and strategies of exiled Syrian academics 
  • 2019 – 2021 Collaborative project with Drake University and the University of Maine (USA), Maynooth University (Ireland) and the University of Edinburgh (UK): Writing beyond the University – an exploration of connections and transitions.

Upcoming events

We don’t currently have any upcoming events. Check back soon for further announcements.

Research outputs

Outputs, tools and resources from the Surrey Language, Literacies and Learning Research Group:

  • Dippold, D., Lynden, J., Shrubsall, R., Ingram, R. (2020). A turn to language: How interactional sociolinguistics informs the redesign of prompt:response chatbot turns. Discourse, Context and Media 37. 
  • Dippold, D., Bridges, S., Eccles, S. & Mullen, E. (2019). Taking ELF off the shelf: Developing HE students’ speaking skills through a focus on English as a lingua franca. Linguistics and Education 54. 
  • Dippold, D., Bridges, S., Eccles, S. & Mullen, E. (2018). Developing the global graduate: how first year university students narrate their experiences of culture. Language and Intercultural Communication 19(4), 313-327. 
  • Gravett, K. (2020). Feedback literacies as sociomaterial practice. Critical Studies in Education.
  • Gravett, K., Kinchin, I. M., Winstone, N. E., Balloo, K., Heron, M., Hosein, A., Lygo-Baker, S., and Medland, E. (2020). The development of academics’ feedback literacy: Experiences of learning from critical feedback via scholarly peer review. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 45 (5), 651-665.
  • Gravett, K. (2020). Developing students' feedback literacies in Baughan, P. (ed.) On Your Marks: Learner-focused Feedback Practices and Feedback Literacy. York: Advance HE. 
  • Gravett, K. (2019). 'Making learning happen: Students’ development of academic and information literacies' in Engaging Student Voices in Higher Education: Diverse Perspectives and Expectations in Partnership, 297-313. Lygo-Baker, S., Kinchin, I. M. and Winstone, N. E. (eds.). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Gravett, K., Yakovchuk, N. and Kinchin, I.M. (eds.) (2020) Enhancing student-centred teaching in Higher Education: the landscape of student-staff research partnerships. Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Heron, M., Gravett, K. & Yakovchuk, N. (2020). Publishing and flourishing: writing for desire in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development. DOI: 
  • Heron, M., & Corradini, E. (2020). Writing for professional recognition in higher education: understanding genre and expertise. Higher Education Research & Development, 1-14. 

Meet the team


Marion Heron profile image

Dr Marion Heron

Reader in Educational Linguistics

Doris Dippold profile image

Dr Doris Dippold

Senior Lecturer in Intercultural Communication

Karen Gravett profile image

Dr Karen Gravett

Senior Lecturer in Higher Education


Ana Frankenberg-Garcia profile image

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

Reader in Translation Studies

Nadya Yakovchuk profile image

Dr Nadya Yakovchuk

Teaching Fellow in Higher Education

PhD students

  • Priyanki Ghosh
  • Ayesha Mudhaffer
  • Luke Draper
  • Jessica Marsh
  • Dominique Hopgood
  • Samaher Aljabri
  • Lingyu Wang
  • Hanaa Abdullah Al-Ghamdi
  • Adeeba Ahmad
  • Thiago Bogossian Porto
  • Esad Bodur
  • Raniah Kabooha
  • Asif Soofi
  • Gustavo Zomer
  • Razan Al Adwan
  • Bianca Sanfilippo
  • Beyza Uçar
  • Hebba Himdi
  • Dina Mousawa
  • Claire Seller

Previous events

Jackie Tuck

Exploring marking as a literacy practice using ‘talking it through’ audio recordings as part of an ethnographic study


Feedback practices have been extensively researched within the field of higher education, generally examined for the insights they offer on students’ experience of writing for assessment and scrutinised for their effectiveness as pedagogy. Marking has rarely been studied as a literacy practice in its own right despite the ‘high stakes’ often associated with it and its notoriety as a drain on academic time. In my work I view marking as a complex academic and workplace literacy practice, simultaneously entwining reading, writing and judgement-making and situated in/productive of very specific disciplinary and institutional contexts, operating at a number of scales.

In this talk I will use short transcribed audio data extracts as a springboard for reflecting on ‘what is going on’ when a university teacher marks a student’s written work. The extracts are taken from 16 hours of transcribed audio recording which were generated as part of a larger, ethnographically oriented study. In these recordings, a UK university teacher ‘talks through’ her marking process as it happens while she assesses a ‘batch’ of eight undergraduate assignments produced for a level one science module. Data gathered over time for the larger study included two long interviews for each participant, assessment feedback texts, assessment rubrics and marker guidance, classroom observation notes, workspace photos, moderation feedback to the marker, emails, forum posts to students and other textual artefacts, including text books.

In discussing the data extracts I hope to throw light on what may be going on in a single marking ‘event’ and will argue that the detailed micro-picture which emerges show this teacher engaging in what is best characterised as a continuum of pedagogic tasks addressing both ‘content’ and ‘language’. I also aim to share for discussion some thoughts about how what seems to be happening at micro level throws light on, or challenges, contemporary thinking about academic literacies.


Jackie is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Applied Linguistics at the Open University. She has over 30 years’ experience as a teacher and lecturer in English Language, English Literature and Communication in a range of postcompulsory settings, including Higher, Further, Adult and Community Education, English as a Foreign Language and English for Academic Purposes. She has also worked in learning support, writing development and academic development roles.

Jackie’s research is positioned at the cusp between two broad fields of interest: on one hand the study of literacies as social practice, and on the other higher education pedagogy research and practice. A key element of her approach and expertise is to employ ethnographically-oriented methodologies to explore pedagogic practices around student writing. By placing academic teachers, rather than student writers, at the centre of these enquiries, her work provides an in-depth focus on an under-researched area of higher education. It provides an insight into the complexity of practice around student writing and in particular those “hidden” literacy practices and events, such as the marking of students’ written work, which play a huge but take-for-granted role in higher education. This focus also helps to throw new light on work with student writing as an aspect of academic labour. One key consequence is that her work has the potential to contribute to academic development and higher education research more widely by challenging a tendency to “blame” teachers for intractable problems in education and by offering insight into how more transformative outcomes for students can be achieved despite pressures in the HE sector environment.

Some examples of Jackie’s work can be seen below:

Coleman, L., & Tuck, J. (2020). Understanding student writing from lecturers’ perspectives: acknowledging pedagogic complexity to support transformative practices in context. Studies in Higher Education, 1-13.

Tuck, J. (2018). " I'm nobody's Mum in this university": The gendering of work around student writing in UK higher education. Journal of English for Academic Purposes32, 32-41.

Tuck, J. (2016). ‘That ain't going to get you a professorship’: discourses of writing and the positioning of academics’ work with student writers in UK higher education. Studies in Higher Education41(9), 1612-1626.

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