Dr Bimali Indrarathne

Profile

Biography

I joined the Department of Education in January 2019 as a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics. Before joining York, I worked at King’s College London and Lancaster University. Prior to coming to the UK, I worked as a lecturer at Kotelawala Defence University in Sri Lanka and as an English language teacher in several government schools in Sri Lanka.

I have a PhD in Applied Linguistics and an MA in TESOL, both from Lancaster University. I also have an MA in Linguistics from Kelaniya University, Sri Lanka and a BA from Peradeniya University, Sri Lanka. I hold both Cambridge DELTA and CELTA.

I teach modules on bachelor’s and master’s programme in the department and supervise postgraduate students.  

Research

Overview

My main research interest is in the area of second language acquisition. I’m particularly interested in investigating how cognitive aspects are related to input processing, the types of input that are more beneficial for learners and teacher’s role in providing language input to learners.

I also work with teachers, teacher educators and policy planners on several research and teacher education projects related to language education and inclusive practices.

Projects

Raising awareness among primary school teachers in Sri Lanka on specific learning difficulties - University of York GCRF funded project

It is estimated that 10% of the world population has some form of learning difficulty such as dyslexia. If identified earlier in life, the remedial actions can help young people to achieve learning goals. In the Sri Lankan context, a lot of children with learning difficulties are deprived of the opportunity to achieve educational goals as most generalist primary teachers have minimal understanding of learning difficulties. The main aim of this impact development project is to design a teacher training module to raise the awareness of generalist primary class teachers in Sri Lanka on learning difficulties, particularly dyslexia, and their consequences in the teaching-learning process.

This project received GCRF funding from University of York and I work with the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka on this.

Investigating EAP provision in higher education in South Asia: Current trends and future needs

Although academic literacy skills such as critical thinking and using source material in writing without plagiarising are essential for students and researchers to compete at international level, when it comes to postgraduate study and publishing, there is evidence that support for these aspects of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is not systematically provided in South Asian universities. The aim of the study is to verify to what extent EAP pedagogies could benefit university students and researchers in South Asia, for the development of internationalisation of the higher education sector, and to identify the resources or training that may be necessary to achieve this. (We are collecting data in four countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka).

This project received the British Council ELTRA grant and I’m collaborating with Dr Sharon McCulloch (PI) from University of Central Lancashire.

How audio-visual presentation of health-related information aids second language speakers' comprehension of texts

The aim of this research is to examine how multi-modal presentation of health-related information aids second language speakers’ comprehension of texts and whether first language literacy profile interacts with the benefits of multi-modal presentation. The study will also yield insights about how well the targeted population of Sri Lankan speakers of English as a second language understands health-related texts written in English.

This is a project funded by Lancaster University and I’m collaborating with Professor Judit Kormos (PI) and Michael Ratajczak from Lancaster University.

Validating CAML-Dyslexia identification test battery in Sri Lanka

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that particularly affects foreign/additional language learning. Although dyslexia should be screened using first language tests, screening tests are not available in Sinhala or Tamil, the two main languages spoken in Sri Lanka. Some institutions in Sri Lanka use original English versions of the tests for screening. Therefore, a set of language independent tests have been introduced to a group of ELT professionals in Sri Lanka to see the applicability of those tests to the Sri Lankan context. The aim of this project is to validate these tests in Sri Lanka.

This project received the Hornby Alumni grant from the British Council and I’m collaborating with Wimansha Abeyawickrama (PI) (Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka), Hasantha Munasinghe (Department of Examinations, Sri Lanka), Lakshani Godage (University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka) and Wageesha Vidanapathirana (Dyslexia assessor/tutor).

External activities

Memberships

I am currently a member of American Association for Applied Linguistics.

Editorial duties

I am a reviewer for several journals:  Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, Teaching and Teacher Education, TESOL Quarterly, Language Testing, Dyslexia and International Journal of Applied Linguistics

Invited talks and conferences

Indrarathne, B. (2018). Working memory abilities, language learning and dyslexia. Plenary at TESOL Greece Specific Learning Differences Colloquium, Athens, Greece, 25 November.

Indrarathne, B. (2018). Attentional processing of different types of target language input, the amount of input learners need and the role of working memory in processing input. A talk given in the seminar series of Department of Education, Oxford University, 13 November.

Indrarathne, B. (2018). Teaching, learning and assessing grammar: What does research say? Plenary presentation 20th National RESC Conference & the 5th National Conference on Language Assessment, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 10 October.

Indrarathne, B. (2018). Dyslexia, working memory & inclusive practices. A talk given at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, India, 7 September.

Indrarathne, B. (2018). Dyslexia, working memory & inclusive practices. A talk given at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, 4 September.

Indrarathne, B. (2018). Dyslexia and ELT in Sri Lanka: A teacher training project – Impact and challenges. A talk given in the Centre for Applied Linguistics, Warwick University, 22 January.

Awards

Finalist - PhD Dissertation award by the American Association for Applied Linguistics, 2019. https://www.aaal.org/dissertation-award

Postdoctoral Fellowship - ESRC’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Postdoctoral Fellowships Scheme, 2016. https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/linguistics/news-and-events/news/2017/trio-funded-to-look-at-developing-world-issues/

EAP (Study Skills) PhD Scholarship - Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, 2013-16

Hornby Scholarship (British Council) - MA TESOL, Lancaster University, 2011/12

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Contact details

D/M/108
Department of Education
University of York
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +441904322088