Dr Yvonne Foley

Senior Lecturer


'The Song of Justice must be Sung'

I have worked as a classroom teacher and  as a teacher educator for many years in the field of English as an additional language, both in Taiwan and across the UK. I taught for a number of years as an EAL teacher and EAL Coordinator in the American schooling system before moving back to the UK  in 2005 to take up the position as a teacher educator at the University of Edinburgh. I currently teach on a range of programmes at the University of Edinburgh: PGDE Secondary, MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching, MSc Language Education, MA Primary Education with Gaelic and MSc TESOL.  The focus of my teaching is influenced by a drive for social justice in language education.

My research and teaching interests lie in the areas of  Language, Literacies and Teacher Education in order to promote social, cultural and linguistic inclusion. I am interested in the ways that critical approaches to literacies can be implemented in classroom practices to ensure that both pupils, and we as teachers, recognise that there is more than one language, history, culture, identity , geography and ideology across the world. I very much enjoy working with both pre and in-service teachers to explore together how to develop professional identities and practices that recognise and respond to the learning needs of all pupils, particularly those from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.  

In 2011, my contribution to teaching and my role as Programme Director on the MSc TESOL Programme was publicly recognised by the student body where I was awarded the Endsleigh Overall High Performer Teaching Award.


  • PhD in Education (The University of Edinburgh)
  • MEd TESOL (The University of Edinburgh)
  • RSA CTEFLA Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (University of Cambridge)
  • Certificate in Theology (Undergraduate - Regent Theological College, Cheshire). 

Responsibilities & affiliations

I am the Chair of the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC), the only national subject association for EAL in the UK, and currently co-direct the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES). I also work in partnership with a number of organisations to provide CPD and Knowledge Exchange for mainstream and EAL teachers across the UK.

I am a member of NALDIC, The British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) and The International Association in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).

Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES)

CERES website 

National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC)

NALDIC website

Undergraduate teaching

PGDE Secondary:

English as an Additional Language

 Critical Literacies

MA Primary Education with Gaelic  - The Multilingual Turn


Postgraduate teaching

PhD Programme

Dissertation Supervision (Postgraduate)

Critical Literacies and Critical Pedagogies (MSc Language Education).

Language and the Learner (MSc Language Education)

Bilingual Education (MSc Language Education)

The development of Reading Literacies

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome enquiries about supervision on topics related to my areas of interest

Current PhD students supervised

Jing Xu - Critical Reading in Vocational Colleges in China

Shang Zhan - Exploring Teachers' Beliefs about Outdoor Learning in Grassroots Education

Hoda Mobasseri - Islamic Feminism and the potential of Adult Education spaces to progress Muslim women's lives

Christian Hanser - A Scottish Classroom Beyond Walls?  Investigating student teacher's negotiations of meaning when applying transformative pedagogies through a mobile tiny house as an experimental classroom

Past PhD students supervised

Annie Yang - Language Maintenance Through Primary School Education: The case of Daighi

Ibrahim Mubarak -Identifying the underlying factors of students' readiness for E-learning in studying English as a foreign language in Saudi Arabia: Students' and Teachers' Perspectives


Research summary

  • Language Teacher Education
  • Teachers' Beliefs and Identities
  • Literacy development for pupils learning English as an additional language (EAL)
  • Critical Literacies
  • Second/Additional Language  Learning and Teaching

Knowledge exchange

  • Keynote speaker: Critical Approaches to Literacy: Globalising the Local. Sheffield, June 2019.
  • Keynote speaker: Inspiring Diverse Approaches: a call to globalise the local, SATEAL, Edinburgh, March 2019.
  • Invited presenter: Teachers' Perceptions about the Literacy Needs of Pupils with English as an Additional Language. Scottish Universities Insight Institute, Dundee, March 2018.
  • Symposium Presenter: Initial Teacher Education and English as an Additional Language. The Bell Foundation, Edinburgh, October, 2017.
  • Presenter: 'Policy, Pedagogy and Pupil Perceptions: EAL in Scotland and England.  CERES Conference, Edinburgh, June 2017.
  • Invited presenter: Pupil Voice: EAL in Scotland and England. The Bell Foundation Symposium, London, July, 2016.
  • Invited syposium presenter: Language Education Policies in Scotland. LED Conference, New Zealand. November, 2015.
  • Symposium: 'A cross-national analysis of K12 ESOL/EALD instructional and teacher education policy', AILA Conference, August 2014.
  • Invited speaker: English as an Additional Language. Holyrood Magazine Primary Education Conference. November 2013.
  • Invited CPD Presenter: Creative Literacies. SSCSA, December, 2012 & 2013.
  • Invited Plenary Speaker: Language and Literacy Across the Curriculum. SEALCC Conference, Scotland, November, 2012.
  • Invited Presenter: Critical Literacies. NALDIC Conference. November, 2012.
  • Invited Speaker:  Exploring Teachers’ Beliefs. St. Andrews University.  April, 2012.
  • Presentation: ‘Enhancing Horizons: Language Teacher Educator Partnerships across International Contexts.’ Paper for a symposium at the CARLA conference, Minneapolis, May 2011. 
  • ‘Presentation: Exploring Teachers' Beliefs about the Language and Literacy Needs of EAL Learners across International Contexts.’ Paper presented at the BAAL conference with Professor Candace Harper, Aberdeen University, September 2010.
  •  Presentation: ‘I just did a couple of weeks of just seat of the pants language school teaching’ Exploring and Uncovering Teachers’ Beliefs in Multilingual Secondary School Classrooms. A Mixed Methods Approach.  Paper presented at the IVACS conference with Dr Brona Murphy, Edinburgh University, June 2010.
  • Invited presenter: ‘Using a Multidimensional Approach to Meet the Reading Literacy Needs of EAL Pupils.’ Paper presented at the NALDIC conference, London, November 2009.  
  • Presentation: ‘Uncovering teachers’ beliefs about the reading literacy needs of pupils learning English as an additional language.’ Paper presented at the IATEFL conference, Cardiff, April 2009.
  • Invited Presenter: ‘Meeting the Reading Literacy Needs of EAL Pupils in Scottish Schools.’ Paper presented at the Scottish Government Conference, Edinburgh. March 2009.
  • Presentation: ‘Meeting the Reading Needs of Bilingual Pupils.’ Paper presented in ‘Topic Surgeries’ at the Scottish Learning Festival, SECC, Glasgow - Sept 2008. 

Project activity

  • The Attainment Challenge Project (£109, 141 - Funded by the Scottish Government) 2018-2021

  • ADiBE : CLIL for All: Attention for Diversity in Bilingual Education Project with Professor Do Coyle (2019-2021)

  • Scottish Council of Deans of Education 1+2 Languages Group (2016) A National Framework for language learning. £60k. Funded by a group of Scottish Local Authorities to develop a National Framework for Languages to inform Initial Teacher Education and Professional Development. 

  • Research Project (2014)(£120,000): Funded by The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy - This project aims to explore provision for student teachers in England who are working with pupils learning EAL. The project blends research and practice to develop modules for trainee teachers and teacher educators with the long-term aim of these professional learning materials being adopted by education providers.
  • The Bell Foundation funded project (2014)(£3,000): (PI) This study aims to give EAL learners a voice in shaping and informing their learning opportunities and to identify ways in which their perceptions can be used to improve their learning experiences within UK schooling.  The project will also investigate how the differing national policies in England and Scotland are enacted at the level of the secondary school, the department and the classroom in relation to individual learners.
  • British Council funded project (2014) (£5,000): (co-researcher) Working in partnership with colleagues this project explores how we are training our mainstream teachers to meet the needs of EAL learners: A case of two schools of education in Scotland.
  • Longitudinal Study (Seedcorn Funding) (£1,500): Exploring mainstream secondary student teachers' perceptions of their experiences during school placements.  Student teachers reflect on the EAL Curriculum Extension strand within the PGDE programme and the challenges and opportunities they face within Scottish schools as they try to implement the new strategies they have learned.  This is a longitudinal study with Dr Pauline Sangster and Dr Charles Anderson, University of Edinburgh.