Xiaowen Liu

Xiaowen Liu


I have been involved in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) since I received an unexpected opportunity to work as a part-time English teacher in China during my undergraduate study. My passion for language teaching, then, motivated me to change my major from Financial Management to TESOL when pursuing further education. I completed an MA in TESOL Studies at the University of Leeds in 2017 and have been studying as a PhD student here since 2018. 

While being a full-time postgraduate researcher, I have also been doing part-time teaching in and outside the university. I have worked as a summer pre-sessional academic English teacher in the Language Centre in the past two years, and as a personal tutor of taught-postgraduates as well as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate module in the School of Education. I have also collaborated with private schools in China and designed and delivered IELTS and academic English courses to students preparing for studying abroad.  

Research interests

My research is a longitudinal case study focusing on how six Chinese students sojourning in the UK develop their pragmatic knowledge and skills in English. It focuses on not only L2 acquisition of these students but also on how L2 learning enables them to develop as a whole person. Examples include how they understand the cultural meaning behind the language, how they negotiate identities in L2 communities, how they creatively engage with the new culture(s), and how their values change through learning of L2 pragmatics. 

In brief, my research interests include: 

  • language learning in the study-abroad context
  • pragmatics learning
  • intercultural communication
  • learner identities
  • qualitative research methods

I am also excited to explore other interesting topics within the field of TESOL.


  • MA TESOL Studies
  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) - Pass A
  • IPA International Chinese Language Teacher Certificate - Advanced