About us

The Progression in Primary Languages project is led by Dr Rowena Kasprowicz, working in collaboration with Dr Rachel Hawkes.

The project team are supported by Professor Suzanne Graham (Mentor), Professor Carmen Muñoz (Mentor) and by our project partners: Association for Language Learning, National Centre for Excellence in Languages Pedagogy and Research in Primary Languages network.

The project is funded through a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

Dr Rowena Kasprowicz (Principal Investigator)

Rowena is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Associate Professor in Second Language Education in the Institute of Education at University of Reading where she leads the Progression in Primary Languages project. Her research expertise is in instructed foreign language learning by young learners, including the effectiveness of explicit instruction for grammar teaching and learning, the role of explicit knowledge in learning, how differences between individual learners mediate the effectiveness of instruction, and the role of technology in language learning. Rowena spent several years teaching German at upper Key Stage 2 across three primary schools in Yorkshire. She is Theme Lead for ‘Linguistic development and expectations’ within the Research in Primary Languages network and was formerly a Research Specialist for the National Centre for Excellence in Languages Pedagogy.

Dr Rachel Hawkes (Collaborator)

Photo of Dr Rachel HawkesRachel is Director of International Education and Research and SLE for languages in The CAM Academy Trust and is Co-Director for the National Centre for Excellence in Languages Pedagogy. She is also a former President of ALL, and is author of several languages text books. Rachel has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, focusing on teacher and learner interaction in the secondary languages classroom. As part of the Progression in Primary Languages project, Rachel is leading the development of a new, fully resourced, primary scheme of work for German teaching at Key Stage 2.

Dr Heike Krüsemann (Post-doctoral Research Associate)

Photo of Dr Heike KrüsemannDr Heike Krüsemann is a language researcher and resource writer with a keen interest in creativity, and a PhD in motivation for language learning. She has many years of experience teaching languages to learners from primary age to adult. Previously Heike has worked on the language learning strand of the Creative Multilingualism Programme led by the University of Oxford, as a member of the language research team at Cambridge University Press, and as a resource developer for the National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy.
Heike’s research interests centre on motivation for language learning, culture and creativity, and she is excited to share her enthusiasm for language learning with young learners and their teachers.

Dr Nicola Morea (Post-doctoral Research Associate)

Photo of Nicola MoreaNicola is a researcher interested in language education, multilingualism and teacher education. He completed a PhD in Language Education at the University of Cambridge. In his doctoral research, Nicola has investigated the multilingual identities and beliefs about multilingualism of pre-service teachers in England, exploring new ways in which Teacher Education and Training providers can prepare future teachers to confidently teach in today’s linguistically diverse classrooms. Nicola has also collaborated on a British-Academy-funded project aimed at mapping school-level language policies across secondary schools in England, led by Prof Karen Forbes (University of Cambridge). Prior to his doctoral studies, Nicola has taught Italian and French in a secondary school in Cambridge, where he has also worked as Head of Department and PGCE Mentor.

Astrid Morrison (Research Associate)

Photo of Astrid Morrison-ParraAstrid is an EFL teacher, teacher educator, and a researcher. She is currently in her last year of a PhD in Applied Linguistics where she explores the effects of the communicative function of speaking tasks on oral fluency in L1 and L2 speakers. Aside from L2 fluency, Astrid’s research also focuses on EFL teachers and teacher education, with her recent publications investigating pre-service teachers’ school placements during the pandemic, and how teacher educators adapted their conceptions and practices of online assessment while teaching online. In her professional career, Astrid has also taught English in Chile, and Spanish in the UK. Prior to starting her PhD, she was working in an English Language Teaching programme as a lecturer of Applied Linguistics, tutoring pre-service EFL teachers, and supervising BA dissertations.

Helen Gass (Resource Developer)

Photo of Helen GassHelen is an experienced teacher and leader of modern languages, delivering French, German and Spanish in schools for 18 years, to students of all ages and abilities, from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 5. She has enjoyed roles as both Head of Modern Languages and Head of German, and as such has extensive experience of designing and implementing schemes of work, resources and assessments to maximise progression, working within the context of the wider department and school development plans. Helen has worked on many research projects within the school context, focusing on use of pupil & teacher TL, the impact of explicit phonics teaching, assessment, CLIL, reading skills at GCSE, and the use of iPads, and she has a particular passion for creating resources and delivering lessons on literature and film. Helen is excited to join this project to contribute to the development of resources to enable the youngest learners to feel progression in their language learning journey.

Ginevra Festanti (Resource Development Assistant)

Photo of Ginevra FestantiGinevra is a student at the University of Reading, currently in her third year of a BA Modern Languages with QTS course. Originally from Italy, she moved to England as an international student to attend Itchen Sixth Form College in Southampton, where she completed four A-Levels. Ginevra is working towards a career as a Spanish, German, and Italian teacher at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5, but her interest in language teaching also stretches into research. Ginevra is supporting with the development of resources for the Key Stage 2 German scheme of work.