Dr Irena Kuzborska
Lecturer in Second Language Education



I joined the Department in September 2011, after completing my PhD in Applied Linguistics and MA in English Language Teaching at the University of Essex. I was the holder of an ESRC 1+3 award, 2004 and a Lithuanian Foundation scholarship, 2005.  I also studied English language and literature as an undergraduate and English philology at graduate level at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania, before teaching English for specific purposes at Kaunas University of Technology for four years.  In 2007, I took the Cambridge ESOL CELTA at Oxford House College in London. 

While studying for my PhD, I worked as a graduate teaching assistant in Linguistics and Teaching English as a Foreign Language at the University of Essex.  I additionally taught academic English at the Imperial College London and the University of Leicester.  Currently, I teach Second Language Acquisition Theory and Research Methods modules on MA TESOL Distance Learning programme at LCC International University in Lithuania and the following MA modules at the University of York: 

• Teaching reading in a foreign language
• Topics in second language research
• TESOL methods



There are two research areas in which I am interested:


The Development of Academic Literacy

In my PhD, I focused on the relationship between EAP teachers’ beliefs and practices in reading instruction to advanced learners of English in a Lithuanian University. The findings of my PhD research support the notion that teaching can profoundly be shaped by personal beliefs and interpretations. I am thus particularly interested in researching EAP teaching contexts further and gaining insights into EAP teachers’ perceptions of academic reading and writing, their expectations of student performance, and their approaches when counselling students on their reading and writing. By understanding teachers’ beliefs and practices, I hope, we can make a valuable contribution to the knowledge of teacher educators, programme administrators, curriculum designers, and teachers themselves. 

The Acquisition of Academic Literacy

I am also interested in the acquisition of academic literacy in a second language and have started researching international students’ reading and writing development, their expectations and difficulties with their courses, and what it means for students to undergo the process of acquiring academic literacy. This knowledge of the processes through which students acquire the academic discourses is hoped to help language educators and materials designers better prepare students for the demands of Higher Education.

 I thus particularly welcome students’ research proposals in the following areas:

• Teacher cognition in language teaching

• Teaching foreign/second language reading

• English for specific purposes

• Materials evaluation and design for language learning


The acquisition of academic literacy - a longitudinal study

Research group(s)

Centre for Research in Language Learning and Use (CReLLU)

External activities



I am a member of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) and the British Association of Lecturers for Academic Purposes (BALEAP).

Invited talks and conferences

I regularly contribute to international conferences and workshops worldwide (e.g., workshops on Teaching Reading in a Foreign Language and Lerner Centeredness; BAAL and BALEAP Conferences; AILA World Congress of Applied Linguistics; International Conference on Modern Languages).

International Links

  • LCC International University, Lithuania
  • Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania

Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44(0) 1904 323463