Dr Yongcan Liu

University Lecturer in Second Language Education at Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

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University Lecturer in Second Language Education, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Dr Yongcan Liu is a University Lecturer in Second Language Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. His main responsibilities in the faculty lie in coordinating the MPhil/MEd in Research in Second Language Education thematic route and supervising research students.

Yongcan trained as a linguist in China and completed his MPhil and PhD in Education at Corpus Christi College as a Chevening Scholar and an ESRC Dorothy Hodgkin Scholar. Before taking up his current post, he was Lecturer in Language Education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter. He has taught languages, education and applied linguistics/TESOL in China, the UK and the United Arab Emirates, and has worked with language professionals from diverse contexts and backgrounds.

Broadly speaking, Yongcan’s research is based on two sociocultural theoretical frameworks: (1) Community of Practice (CoP) theory, from a sociological/anthropological perspective, focusing on issues of identity, participation and social practice; (2) Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), which takes a socio-cognitive view and mainly deals with issues such as mediation, regulation and potential development. He brings together these two theoretical perspectives to understand the social nature of second language teaching, learning and teacher professional development. Yongcan also has a long-standing interest in combining linguistic and social analysis in educational research. His recent research projects focus on language development, social integration and educational achievement of bilingual children with an immigrant background.

Yongcan is founding convenor of Cambridge Research in Community Language Education Network (CRiCLE), a research initiative looking at how immigrant communities strive to preserve their languages in the home, school and community. He is an ad hoc reviewer of a number of journals in language and education and currently serves as an advisory board member of the Language Learning Journal.