Professor Do Coyle (Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques)

Chair in Languages Education and Classroom Learning


Do is an international expert in the field of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) after having spent her career both as a languages teacher (French, Russian and English) in a wide range of schools in the UK and France, and as an academic, working and researching ways of improving learner experiences in classrooms where other languages are used as the medium of learning. As an early pioneer of the CLIL movement in Europe, working with bilingual teachers, she developed the CLIL 4Cs Framework and the Language Triptych which has now been adopted and adapted globally for guiding and planning pedagogic approaches for bilingual learning and CLIL classrooms.  Do has gained worldwide acclaim through her drive to enable teachers and their learners to have confidence in developing conditions for deeper learning and especially in ensuring that learning is spatially designed, cognitively challenging - built on linguistic progression - and is interculturally connected. At the University of Aberdeen (2008-2017), where she held a 6th Century Chair in Learning Innovation and was Dean of the School of Education and Music (2012-2016), her work as a founder member of the Graz Group involved a transnational research team, funded by the ECML. The Graz Group is currently developing a PluriLiteracies approach to Teaching for Deeper Learning (PTDL) and is constantly exploring ways of achieving sustainable deeper learning across languages and contexts.

Throughout her career, Do has also  focused on 'shared learning' and technology-enabled spaces which enable all learners to connect with other learning sites - from the very local to the very global.  She was co-lead  for the Visual Learning Lab (University of Nottingham) and led a team building the technology-enabled professional learning (TePL) network in Aberdeen.  She has a keen interest in developing spatial awareness in pre-service teachers and the need to evidence how space ( inside, outside and across physical boundaries) impacts on learner attainment, achievement and sense of self-worth.   Her current post at the University of Edinburgh (2017-) as Professor in Languages Education and Classroom Pedagogies returns to focus on educational linguistics, language education and technology-enabled shared learning – where her heart lies.  Working in a collaborative team across all Scottish universities, which successfully developed the National Framework for Languages (ITE), Do’s work focuses on developing Language Education in MHSES and  pedagogic approaches to support bilingual education in different forms whilst promoting pluriliteracies skills for all learners. She also aspires to develop the  network and a distinctive research profile for the Shared Learning Spaces Lab  to encourage more teachers to  rethink 'space' for shared learning and its impact on their learners. She is currently Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Moray House.

A simple tenet drives her work: educators, practitioners and learners are experts – they are the researchers who need to ‘own’ their practices, be digitally connected and collaboratively build shared learning spaces (SLS) for optimum conditions for deep learning.  Above all, she believes that language is our greatest learning (and teaching!) tool.

She became a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques (1998) awarded by the French Government for services to education promoting European Teacher Education and holds a Lord Dearing Award for Excellence in Teaching in Higher Education(2002).


BEd  (Modern Languages)(University of Nottingham)

Diplôme d'études appliquées (University of Poitiers, France)

MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (University of Leicester)

PhD Learner Discourse in CLIL Classrooms (University of Nottingham)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Do has successfully supervised over 30 PhD students throughout her career including several European doctorates. She has examined doctoral candidates across the world mainly in the field of bilingual education and CLIL. She is open to working with PhD candidates in the following areas:

  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in school and teriary sectors
  • Spatial awareness and its impact on learning
  • Examining the concept of Shared Learning Spaces and impact on student achievement
  • Ecological frameworks for learning and Educational Linguistics
  • Immersion and bilingual education in classrooms including transdisciplinary studies, language-medium learning 
  • PluriLiteracies and the role of language in meaning-making, conceptual development and intercultural understanding
  • Academic literacies (discourse, conceptual and intercultrual thinking) in different disciplines e.g. science, history, social sciences
  • Transformative pedagogies and shared learning spaces for deeper learning
  • Pupils as researchers, teachers as researchers, student teachers as researchers 
  • Theories of Practice
  • Classroom discourse


Research summary

Do's research focuses on classroom pedagogies which enable all learners to succeed across languages and cultures, across disciplines, ages and stages.  

Much of her work has been in bilingual classrooms especially in Content and Language Integrated Learning - experimenting ways in which  learners can be encouraged to develop mindsets built on resilience and determination to succeed, encouraged by motivating  and challenging shared learning through ecological principles, constructing ways in which learners can be enabled to take ownership of their own learning and engage in meaning-making  in multilingual and multicultural contexts drives her current and recent outputs. In particular the 4Cs Framework and Triptych, have more recently evolved into research into a PluriLiteracies Model of Teaching for Deeper Learning (PTDL). Classroom talk, dialogic activities and especially languaging learning are all fundamental to deeper learning. She has also developed a keen interest in technology-enabled shared learning and is currently researching shared learning sites across universities, schools and communities. 

Key words:

  • Bilingual education
  • CLIL (content and language integrated learning)
  • Multilingualism, plurilingualiams, multiculturalism and identity
  • PluriLiteracies (developing a 4-D model for deeper learning across languages, ages and stages)
  • Disciplinary Literacies 
  • Technology-enhanced and enabled learning 
  • Discourse-rich classrooms (the role of languaging, scaffolding and assessment)

Current research interests

Current research focuses on : * Integrated pedagogies in bilingual education including CLIL Content and Language Integrated Learning (e.g. science discourse in bilingual classrooms; e.g. Pluriliteracies approaches to language learning and using) * PluriLiteracies Model of Teaching for Deeper Learning (4-D design and planning for learning) * Shared Learning Spaces (technology-enhanced linking sites for shared learning - university and schools)

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

Do is currently involved in several research initiatives all of which is linked to the transeuropean research group - The Graz Group (see affiliations):

  • Shared Learning Spaces (Lab and network )
  • Adopting a PluriLiteracies approach to language learning and teaching (ECOLINT)
  • Playing beyond CLIL - European team investigating adapting a drama-based padagogic approaches to assessment in CLIL classrooms ( European Erasmus+)
  • Adressing Diversity in Bilingual education ( ADiBE) (European Erasmus +)

  • Shared Learning Spaces - how digital sites lead to collaborative learning (University of Edinburgh and City Deal)
  • National Framework for Languages - evidence gathered from practice (7 Local Authorities)
  • Developing excellence in 1 + 2: working together for success (3 Local Authorities)

Current project grants

See project activity above