Dr Jean Conteh


I have worked in multilingual contexts for my whole career, first as a primary teacher and teacher educator in different countries and then as an academic at the University of York and Leeds University, where I took up a senior lectureship in 2007. All this experience contimnues to fuel my interest in the roles of language and culture in the processes of learning, particularly in multilingual settings. I worked as a teacher educator on PGCE Primary, BA QTS and MA courses for over 20 years in West Yorkshire, and through this gained considerable experience in the growing field of English as an additional language (EAL). This has led to the new programme I have developed, which started in September 2013, the MA in EAL and Education, designed for teachers and other professionals working in multilingual contexts (for further details please see the School of Education's programme catalogue).

Working in multilingual contexts in Britain has strengthened my awareness of the ways in which socio-political issues affect children's chances for success, at all levels of their education and thus is social justice.This was developed by the research I carried out with successful bilingual learners at KS2 in Bradford leading to my PhD, which I completed, part-time, in 2001. Since then, I have published many books, chapters and articles about these issues, and am interested in supervising doctoral students researching these issues.

Research interests

Since 2003, I have worked with a group of qualified primary teachers who run bilingual complementary classes where they support children's bilingual learning in order to enhance their achievments in mainstream school. in 2011, we were delighted  to win a large grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to develop our work with the children and their families, and this is the focus of my current research. 

I am a longstanding member of NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum), and have been involved in several projects with them, relating to researching EAL in teacher education.

I am a member of the BAAL Linguistic Ethnography Special Interest Group and have presented papers at seminars and conferences.

I very much enjoy keeping my links with Africa alive, and have worked with Macmillan Education publishers to develop materials for teachers and pupils in African primary classrooms, such as the Reading Worlds series, for which I am the series editor.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

My abiding interest in issues of equity and social justice in multilingual classrooms has led me to pursue linguistic ethnographic research methodologies to investigate and understand processes of teaching and learning from the points of view of the participants, and the ways these both mediate and are mediated by national and global imperatives.

I am very interested in understanding children's learning experiences in both complementary and mainstream contexts, and also the professional experiences, roles and identities of bilingual primary teachers.

I welcome the opportunity to work with Master's and doctoral students who wish to research in these areas.

I am a member of the Language Education research group. My teaching covers several areas in the School; I am module leader for the English component of the PGCE Primary Programme. I teach on the new BA (Hons) in English, Language and Education and also on the Master's Research Methods modules. The new course I have developed, MA in EAL and Education, began in September 2013. I supervise both PhD and Master's students, and am course leader for the MA in Education.

Current postgraduate research students

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>