Louise Dearden

Louise Dearden


I have been teaching English Language, English Literature and Drama for almost 30 years and I consider myself fortunate to have worked in a diverse range of educational contexts in Europe and the UK. I began my career teaching EFL to adults with The British Council in Europe. Following this, I moved to an international school where I taught in both Primary and Secondary. It was during this period that I began to explore how people learn and communicate at the intersection of language and the arts and how creative pedagogies have the potential to open spaces for meaningful engagement in the classroom. Since my return to the UK in 2015, I have been teaching ESOL at an adult education institute and this is where I am currently carrying out my doctoral research with migrant learners. 

My PhD project has taken a change in direction over the past year due to repercussions from the Covid-19 pandemic. Working in collaboration with Birmingham Opera Company, my original intention was to investigate the impact on identity of language learners’ participation in community opera. However, the inevitable cancellation of the event has led to a shift in focus. I am now exploring what constitutes meaningful participation in language learning. To this end I am examining how participatory patterns change across various social contexts within the learning environment and the relationship these patterns have with the way learners perform identities. 

I am passionate about teaching but also about learning; I would describe myself as a committed life-long learner. When I returned to the UK in 2015, it was to pursue postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. This experience has shaped my research interests since then. 

Research interests

My MA dissertation was a narrative inquiry into language teacher cognition, more specifically, the role of moral values in primary language teacher lives. This stimulated an interest in exploring the moral, ethical, social and political dimensions of language teaching and learning in an age of globalisation.


  • MA Education (TEFL)
  • BA English Literature