The University of Reading’s Institute of Education’s Research Output Awards are given each year to members of staff whose research output is making a valuable contribution to knowledge, as assessed by the IoE Research Committee. The outputs are assessed on their originality, rigour and significance.

This year, two awards (one for an Associate Professor and one for a Lecturer) were given to Dr. Naomi Flynn (Associate Professor of Primary English Education) and Dr. Pengchong Zhang (Lecturer in Second Language Learning). More details of their research outputs can be found below.

Many congratulations to Dr. Flynn and Dr. Zhang!


Flynn, N. (2019). Teachers and Polish children: Capturing changes in the linguistic field. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 40(1), 65-82. DOI:















Dr. Flynn’s article presents a follow-up study to her published PhD research which examined the responses of primary school teachers to Polish children learning English as an additional language (EAL). The ‘8-years-after’ project added the perspectives of Polish children and their parents in order to capture a more nuanced understanding of the school-based language learning experiences for this large migrant group. Interviews with all participants were analysed against codes generated from the original data set, in order to test whether her past findings remained current. Findings contribute very rare longitudinal data which tracks both the school experiences of Polish children, and, significantly, the ways in which changes in education policy have shaped teachers’ agency to adapt their practice for children with EAL. The analysis is theoretically original in its application of Bourdieuian field theory to uncover persistence and change in the relationship between migration and education over time.

On receiving her award Naomi said: “I am delighted to have my research recognised by peers in this way. However, in many ways this award is a testament to the great support I have had from other researchers and teacher-educator colleagues since I came to Reading. The IoE provides a dynamic environment for researchers wanting to grow their skills in studying multilingual pedagogy, and I have really benefited from that.”



Zhang, P. & Graham, S. (2019). Vocabulary learning through listening: Comparing L2 explanations, teacher codeswitching, contrastive focus-on-form and incidental learning. Language Teaching Research. DOI:














Dr. Zhang’s article compares four types of vocabulary instruction among 137 high-school learners of English as a foreign language, exploring their impact on short and long-term vocabulary gains as well as on listening comprehension. It applies a rigorous research design and uses sophisticated statistical analyses. Findings underline the value of providing cross-linguistic information about words, but also the importance of attention to listening proficiency development. The study’s dual focus on the development of both lexical knowledge and listening proficiency makes it novel in the field. It is of practical significance for the classroom but also of theoretical significance for illuminating models of vocabulary acquisition and the relationship between the first language and the second language.

On being given the Best Research Output (Lecturer), Dr. Zhang said “I am really grateful to the IoE for giving me this award. To be recognised in this way as an early career researcher is a real encouragement that this path in academia is right for me, and that my work in classroom based second language teaching and learning is valued. Thank you so much to the IoE for this strong gesture of support.”