Dr Ursula Lanvers



I am Programme Leader for the PhD Programme in Applied Linguistics (offered jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of Language and Linguistics).

I teach a variety of core and option modules on the MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, as well as Undergraduate modules on Language in Education and Skills for Studying Education.

I joined the Department on 1 October 2015 as a lecturer in language education.

Before this, I taught languages and a variety of linguistics courses at the Open University for eight years, specialising on developing distance language learning materials for German in particular.

I have also worked at the University of Plymouth and University of Exeter as a research fellow in student learning, and taught language modules at the University of Exeter and Durham.

I completed my PhD at the University of Exeter in Bilingual First Language Acquisition in 1999. I completed my first degree in French, History and Education Studies at the University of Munster, Germany, in 1990. I completed my PGCE (Modern Languages) at the University of Oxford in 1993.



I have three main research interests:

  • Language education policy
  • The psychology of language learning (motivation, attitude, identity, affect)
  • Global English and its effect on language learning language (both in Anglophone countries and beyond)

My research takes me into schools (secondary and primary), but also engages learners in different settings.

I use both qualitative and quantitative methods, including questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, and prefer using mixed methods in most research projects.


I currently work on these projects and themes:

Intervention for school students to change attitudes and motivation for language learning

  • This project involves developing and testing two interventions, designed for Key Stage 3 students in England, that develop awareness of multilingualism globally and locally, and advantages of multilingualism. This is a project involving school teachers, and researchers from three different universities.

The social divide in language learning in the UK

The Englishisation of Education in Europe

  • Together with Kristina Hultgren, I am editing a Special Edition for the European Journal of Language Policy on the topic of Englishisation of education in Europe. My contribution focuses on public discourses of Englishisation in the German education system.

Motivation for language learning in the UK and language learning decline

  • Article in Special Edition of MLJ:  re-conceptualising the theory of language learning for UK learners (Volume 101.3).
  • A book chapter, written with Gary Chambers (Leeds), provides a contrastive analysis of language learner motivation and language policy in the UK and Germany.

New teaching programme for teaching English as Medium of Instruction for Higher Education staff

  • A British Council funded project with Paul Roberts.

Workshop on conceptualisations of bilingualism

  • A British Association of Applied Linguistics funded workshop with Dr Fatma Said.

Research group(s)


At York, I collaborate with Paul Roberts and Dr Nadia Mifka-Profozic, and externally with Martin Lamb (Leeds), Gary Fisher (Leeds), Hannah Doughty (Strathclyde), Kristina Hultgren (Open University), among others.


I supervise a number of MA students annually.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Ronna Tamba: Motivational Strategies in the English Programme at Saint Thomas Catholic University, Indonesia. (Since January 2016)
  • Alaa Alnajashi: Effects of Using technology on language learner motivation in Higher Education students in Saudi Arabia. (Since October 2016)
  • Dilruba Yasmin: Social dimensions of motivation to learn English in Bangadeshi Secondary students: gender, SES, rural-urban differences. (Since October 2016)

External activities


  • I am a member of the British Association of Applied Linguistics and a member of their Special Interest Group: Language Learning and Teaching.
  • I am a reviewer for a number of Academic Journal including Modern Language Journal, Applied Linguistics, Language Learning Journal, System, International Journal of Bilingualism, Educational Psychology.
  • I regularly examine PhD and EdD theses externally.


Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44(0)1904 323440