Linda Fisher

Linda Fisher

Linda Fisher

Reader in Languages Education
Faculty of Education
University of Cambridge
Strand 7. Language Learning
Co-Investigator

Growing up (in Northern Ireland) I’d had little if any exposure to other languages before I went for a French taster lesson at my prospective new secondary school. It was here I developed a passion for language learning that has never left me; I’m still fascinated by languages, how we learn them and how we might help people to learn them more effectively.

After studying French and German at St Andrews, I began my working life as a secondary school foreign language teacher. After ten enjoyable years, I moved to the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, where I am now based. Here I work on a variety of course related to second language education and research in the fields of teacher learning, foreign languages pedagogy and languages policy.

My chief research interest has been how people’s beliefs about their capacity for language learning influences their motivation and progression. In particular, the focus has been on how the sociocultural environment (influenced by everything from government policy to school culture) influences such beliefs, and how we might develop pedagogical approaches that benefit and sustain language learning. For the last few years I have been researching metaphor as a way of accessing and shaping beliefs to make them conducive to language learning. The Creative Multilingualism project offers an exciting opportunity to understand whether students’ literacy and motivation are developed when they deal with texts containing figurative language and are required to produce creative and personal responses. The role of metaphor in this process is a key focus, and offers opportunities for collaboration across other strands on this project and with experts worldwide.

Running in parallel with my ongoing attempts to get beyond beginners’ Spanish, I’m looking forward to learning a new language as part of the Creative Multilingualism team challenge.

Linda Fisher's biography in Irish

Agus mé ag fás aníos (i dTuaisceart Éireann), ba bheag an taithí a bhí agam ar theangacha eile sular fhreastail mé ar cheacht bhlaiste Fraincise sa mheánscoil a raibh mé le bheith i mo dhalta inti. Is ansin a chothaigh mé dúil i bhfoghlaim na dteangacha, dúil nár fhag mé riamh; tá suim láidir agam sna teangacha fós, sa dóigh ina bhfoghlaimaímid iad, agus sna bealaigh inar féidir linn cabhrú le daoine chun iad a fhoghlaim sa dóigh is éifeachtaí.

I ndiaidh dom staidéar a dhéanamh ar an Fhraincis agus ar an Ghearmáinis in Ollscoil Chill Rímhinn, thosaigh mé ag obair mar mhúinteoir teanga meánscoile. Tár éis deich mbliana taitneamhacha den tsaol seo, bhog mé go Dámh an Oideachais in Ollscoil Cambridge, áit a bhfuil mé bunaithe go fóill. Anseo, oibrím ar chúrsaí éagsúla a bhaineann le hoideachais dara teanga agus deánaim taighde i réimsí fhoghlaim múinteora, oideolaíocht na dteangacha iasachta, agus bheartas teanga.

An phríomhshuim taighde atá agam ná an tionchar a bhíonn ag creidiúintí dhaoine faoin chumas atá acu le teangacha a fhoghlaim ar an spreagadh a bhíonn acu le dul in ngleic le teangacha agus ar an dul chun chinn a bhaineann said amach in a gcuid foghlama.  Tá an taighde ata déanta agam dírithe go háirithe ar an tionchar a bhíonn ag an timpealleacht shoch-chultúrtha (a bhfuil tionchar ag réimse mhór cúinsí idir pholasaí rialtais agus chultúr na scoile uirthi féin) ar na creidiúintí sin, agus ar an dóigh inar féidir linn cur chuige oideolaíoch a fhorbairt a thairbheoidh agus a chothóidh foghlaim na dteangacha. Le roinnt blianta anuas tá mé ag déanamh staidéir ar an mheafar mar bhealach le breith ar chreidiúintí agus lena mhúnlú nó go bhfóire said d’fhoghlaim na dteangacha. Tugann an tionscadal Ilteangachas Cruthaitheach deis iontach dúinn tuiscint a fháil ar an méid is a chothaítear litearthacht agus spreagadh na ndaltaí nuair a bhíonn ábhair a bhfuil friotal fíortha iontu idir lámha acu agus nuair a chuirtear orthu freagairtí chruthaitheacha agus pearsanta a thabhairt ina léith. Tá ról an mheafair sa phróiseas seo ina phointe lárnach den taighde, agus cuireann sé deiseanna ar fáil comhoibriú le taighdeoirí ar fud an tionscadail seo agus le saineolaithe eile ar fud an domhain.

Tá mé ag tnúth go mór le tabhairt faoi dhúshlán an fhoireann Ilteangachais Chruthaithigh agus teanga nua a fhoghlaim, an Ioruais, b’fhéidir, rud a dheanfeas mé in éineacht leis na hiarrachtaí léanunacha a bhíonn i gcónaí ar bun agam le dul níos faide sa Spáinnis ná léibhéal an tosaitheora.

Selected publications

Fisher, L. (forthcoming 2016) 'Researching learners' and teachers' beliefs about language using metaphor'. Encyclopedia of Language and Education. Volume 3. US: Springer.

Fisher, L. (2013) 'Discerning Change in Young Students’ Beliefs about their Language Learning through the use of Metaphor Elicitation in the Classroom', Research Papers in Education 28(3), 373-392

Evans, M. and Fisher, L. (2010) 'Translating policy into practice: the impact of the KS3 Framework for MFL on language teaching and learning in schools', Research Papers in Education, 25(4), 479-493

Evans, M. and Fisher, L. (2009) Language Learning at Key Stage 3: The Impact of the Key Stage 3 Modern Foreign Languages Framework and changes to the curriculum on provision and practice. DCSF.

Email
Lgf20@cam.ac.uk