Languages, Literacy and Communication

Our work grows from a long tradition of research and practice in the field of languages at UWTSD. We follow in the footsteps of inspirational educators such as Jac L Williams and Norah Isaac, after whom the Early Childhood teaching block on the Carmarthen campus is named.

Modern Education in an Ancient Culture 

When Norah Isaac became head teacher of the first Welsh-medium school in Wales eighty years ago, she adopted the motto: Addysg Fodern mewn Hen Ddiwylliant/ Modern Education in an Ancient Culture. As a corner stone of the curriculum at this ground-breaking school, she recognised the importance of multiple language learning and introduced her pupils to a second and third language in the primary sector.

This multilingual worldview informs our work

In Successful Futures, the framework for a new school curriculum for Wales, one of the six Areas of Learning and Experience is given the triple-barrelled title: Languages, Literacy and Communication. Taking our cue from this, the Athrofa works towards redefining the way we look at language and explore the link between these three elements. 

Our research interests include: 

  • developing more effective pedagogies across all languages offered in the curriculum;
  • developing a better understanding of how teachers influence the language acquisition of pupils;
  • analysing the impact of whole-school strategies on pupils’ literacy;
  • exploring the link between language learning and social inclusion through a shared cultural understanding;
  • developing more rewarding and ambitious assessment procedures, where proficiency is viewed more as a ‘path’ along which speakers can move forwards and backwards rather than a rigid milestone;
  • in the particular context of the vision set out in A New Opportunity to Lead– UWTSD’s Educational Pledge, namely ‘to create a centre of excellence in bilingual and Welsh-medium education’, and the Welsh Government’s goal to become a nation of 2+1 language speakers and reach the target of one million Welsh speakers, we are interested in:
    • exploring and disseminating a better understanding about what ‘bilingualism’ and ‘multilingualism’ mean
    • bringing about a change in attitudes towards language learning and teaching
    • developing effective methods to prepare the teaching workforce to meet the challenge.

Our work is linked with partners including:


  • Welsh Government
  • Qualifications Wales
  • ERW
  • CS
  • British Council Wales
  • The Learned Society of Wales
  • Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (Sponsors of Languages, Literacy and Communication Conference, see link below) 


  • Stenden University, School of Education/Teacher Training
  • The Ikastolalen Elkartea network, The Basque Country
  • The Educational Role of Language Network, Institute of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences; University of Gdansk, Poland
  • NPLD Network to Promote Linguistic Divesity
  • CAER Cymdeithas Addysg Ewrop y Rhanbarthau


Angella Cooze
Angella’s main interest is in the development of the English literacy of pupils. She is currently working on a PhD thesis that examines the impact of whole school literacy approaches in the development of reading skills in secondary schools.

Catherine Morgan
Catherine’s area of research is in Welsh second language teaching and learning methodology including Welsh in ITE and teacher development. 

Dr Christine Jones
Christine’s expertise lies in the field of language and dialect, in particular dialect in literature from Pembrokeshire. She is an applied linguist working in the context of Welsh as a second language and Welsh for adult learners.

Elaine Sharpling
Elaine’s focus is on the primary sector. Initial work on her PhD thesis has led her to explore code switching and the effects of teacher talk on children's writing development. 

Dr Hywel Glyn Lewis
Hywel’s main area of research is on the political ideology that forms the context of bilingual and multilingual education, and which can, through the adoption of detrimental educational models, hinder the cognitive and intellectual advantages that can emerge from multilingual education.

Mererid Hopwood
Mererid is interested in multilingual literacy, the link between language and cultural memory, language and creative writing and the development of Welsh language resources for language learning.

Ruth Thomas
Ruth is working on literature and dialect and this will be the focus of her doctoral thesis.

Siân Brooks
Sian is interested in the theory of translation, the use of digital technology in language learning and multilingual literacy. The working title of her PhD thesis is ‘In search of triple literacy pedagogy through an analysis of pedagogical interventions across Welsh, English and the modern foreign languages’.

Dr Paul B. Hutchings

Early Childhood
Alison Rees Edwards
Dr Glenda Tinney
Ann-Marie Gealy

Social Inclusion
Lynwen Roberts

Peniarth/Translation Unit
Andrew Currie
Geraint Lloyd
Lowri Lloyd
Nia Cole Jones

Faculty of Humanities

Gwen Davies
Gwen’s interest is in developing an understanding of bilingualism in Wales in the light of relevant international multilingual contexts. She is also interested in the role of language in maintaining and fostering identity.

Dr Katharina Zinn
Katharina is interested in the understanding of the phenomenon literacy and its place within ancient and modern societies. This brings with it the very practical approach towards learning ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and the capturing of diverse grammatical systems past and present in order to understand our own and contemporary system. She applies this to teaching ancient languages to students.

Duo Luan
Duo Lan’ research covers the following areas: Chinese syntax; visual coding (colour and shape) of teaching Chinese grammar; intercultural communication through the act of language. Her PhD lies in genre study of Chinese TV Dramas under the political contexts of China.

Dr Christine Jones
Jones, C. & Morris, S. (eds) (2016). Cyflwyno’r Cyfathrebu: Llawlyfr Ymarferol i Diwtoriaid Cymraeg i Oedolion, Cardiff: UWP;
Jones, C. (2016). ‘Rôl yr e-diwtor’, in Jones, C., & Morris, S. (eds.) Cyflwyno’r Cyfathrebu: Llawlyfr Ymarferol i Diwtoriaid Cymraeg i Oedolion, Cardiff:UWP
‘Tafodiaith a Llenyddiaeth: Rhai Sylwadau.’ International Language Variation Conference, Aberystwyth. July 2014;
Jones, C. (2013). All the Welsh Grammar you need to know, London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Dr Hywel Glyn Lewis
Lewis, H. (2014). ‘Astudiaeth o effaith bosibl datblygiadau newydd ar gymunedau Cymraeg eu hiaith yn Sir Gaerfyrddin, sef tair ystad o dai newydd yng Nghaerfyrddin, Cross Hands a Llandeilo.’ Report for Carmarthenshire County Council;
Lewis, H. (forthcoming). ‘Language attrition in the Welsh context: evidence of attempted murder or suicide?’ Awaiting publication in the Proceedings of the ‘Celtic Puzzles’ conference. Szczecin University. Feb 2014;
Lewis, H. (2016). ‘The Cognitive Advantages of Bilingualism.’ An Foras Patrunachta Annual Conference, Trim, County Meath, Ireland.

Elaine Sharpling
Sharpling, E. and Cooze, A. (2014). Literacy Learning Pack, Welsh Government

Angella Cooze
Cooze, A. and Myatt, M. (2014). 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding English Lessons, London: Bloomsbury
Cooze, A. and Sharpling, E. (2014). Literacy Learning Pack, Welsh Government

Mererid Hopwood
Hopwood, M. (2017). ‘Curo’n Hyderus ar y Drws Tri Enw’, in Welsh Education Journal, 19.1 63-82;
Listening On, Talking With’, keynote address, the Standing International Conference of Inspectorates, April 2016;
Hopwood M. (2016). ‘“Pob un â’i lais pob un â’i le,” – Waldo Williams: Bardd Plant Cymru’, in Llên Cymru, ed. E. W. James;
Hopwood M. (2016). ‘ “Fuoch chi yng Nghwm Alltcafan?” T Llew Jones Bardd y Plant Bach a’r Plant Mawr’, in Y Traethodydd, ed. D. Morgan.

Duo Luan
Lan, D.  (March 2017). ‘A Visual Stimulation Approach for Teaching Beginner Chinese’. In Y. Lu (ed.), Frameworks and Standards, Learners and Practice: Teaching and Learning Mandarin Chinese in Higher Education, London: Routledge;
Lan, D. (forthcoming). ‘Exploring Intercultural Communication Through the Act of Translation in Subtitling’. In C. Xiang (ed.), Case on Audio-visual Media in Language Education Pennsylvania: IGI Global.

Dr Katharina Zinn
Zinn, K. (forthcoming 2018). ‘Forms of literacy in pharaonic Egypt’. In: A. Kolb (ed.) Literacy in ancient everyday life - Schriftlichkeit im antiken Alltag, Berlin: De Gruyter;
Zinn, K. (2012). ‘Literacy, Pharaonic Egypt’. In: R. Bagnall et al. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Ancient World. 4100-4. Oxford: Blackwell. 

Helen Prosser
Prosser, H. (2016). ‘Meithrin Sgiliau Darllen’. In Jones, C. and Morris, S. Cyfoethogi’r Cyfathrebu  Cardiff UWP.

Some recent MA/PhD dissertations:

  • Y graddau mae deddfwriaeth a phŵer gwleidyddiaeth wedi effeithio ar y Gymraeg ym maes iechyd yng Nghymru ers datganoli.
  • Arabic maintenance and development in Swansea, Wales.
  • Preschool teachers’ attitudes and beliefs regarding bilingualism and home language maintenance in the Vallecamonica area in Italy, and the extent to which such attitudes and beliefs are reflected in teaching practice and transmitted to parents of potentially bilingual preschool age children.
  • Motivation of Surgut School Pupils towards the Learning of English.
  • Astudiaeth o brofiadau a chanfyddiadau oedolion wrth ddysgu Cymraeg trwy ddulliau newydd, a hynny yng nghyd-destun ymdrechion adfywio iaith yng Nghymru heddiw.
  • Astudiaeth o gymhwysedd dwyieithog dysgwyr o gefndir di-Gymraeg mewn ysgol benodedig Gymraeg yn Sir Ddinbych.
  • Dealing with Bilingual Patients: Assessing the educational needs of Speech and Language Therapists working in Greece.
  • Young people’s attitudes towards the Friulan language in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of north-east of Italy.
  • Darpariaeth Gymraeg a dwyieithog yn y sector twristiaeth yng Nghymru.
  • Addysg Gymraeg ail -iaith mewn ysgolion cyfrwng Saesneg.

Current MA research projects:

  • The Linguistic Outcomes of the Current Bilingual Teaching Model Applied to Migrant Foreign Students in Italian Schools.
  • The Use of Television in the Early Acquisition of a Foreign Language in Additive Contexts: Towards an Understanding of Family Language Policy: Analysis and Discussion of Habits and Attitudes.     

Yr Athrofa

Cynhadledd Ieithoedd Llythrennedd a Chyfathrebu
Languages, Literacy and Communication, Welsh medium Conference
April 6th/7th 2017
Find out more about the conference (pdf)

Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Review into Methods of Assessing Language Proficiency

The aim of this project is to support the development of teaching, learning and assessment of 2 (+1) languages in Wales, by developing knowledge of this area in an international context.

Qualifications Wales.

Listening to Language

This project considers how learning through music can inspire and enhance children’s language learning.

Traditionally, language teaching is preoccupied with vocabulary: the ‘meaning’ of individual words is the primary focus, their ‘sounds’ a secondary consideration. This lends itself to didactic pedagogies that can be difficult for some pupils to access. Bringing music to the sound components of language (i.e. rhyme, repetition and rhythm), shifts the focus to language acquisition through deep listening and practical meaning – drawing on the ways very young children acquire their first languages. Furthermore, these ‘on-your-feet’ approaches can disrupt conventional learning patterns and inequalities and help create different relationships between teachers and pupils. Children have alternative opportunities to experience success.

It explores the sounds of words and linguistic patterns as musical phrases and using rhythm, rhyme and repetition, as well as reflecting on how this can be used effectively in the classroom, the project supports primary teachers in 10 schools to become confident leaders of language learning.

Further, by linking learning to the musical heritage of Patagonia it examines how this approach can develop the inter-cultural understanding and widen the horizons of up to 520 primary pupils as they prepare for transition to secondary school.

Project partners:

  • British Council, Wales;
  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales;
  • ERW regional education consortium.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Education Fund.

Cyfieithu Creadigol 

This project will explore how primary school pupils develop trans and cross-languaging skills in a creative-writing context.

Project partners:

  • Arad Goch;
  • Ysgol Llangynnwr School. 

Arts Council of Wales. 

Chinese Visual Learning (CVL): a Leading-edge methodology for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL)

Funder: Hanban, Confucius Institute

In development

Bilingual to Multilingual

The project will look at ways in which bilingual jurisdictions – where one of the languages is the minority language – can build on their bilingualism to become multilingual.
Objectives: enhance the methods of developing bilingualism to 

  • increase the number of those speaking the minority language;
  • improve the provision for learning other foreign languages;
  • to strengthen literacy skills across the curriculum.