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Centre for English Language Learning and Teaching

Resources and Research

CELLT functions as a world-class research centre in which faculty, visiting scholars, researchers and postgraduate students observe, study and theorize on established and emerging approaches to English and Second Language learning and teaching. CELLT’s Intensive Academic language modules, which operate through Trinity College’s academic year, provide opportunity for the development and testing of multi-modal teaching and learning practices and act as a forum for research and collaboration on multiple aspects of English language learning and teaching.
Our research interests and expertise include:

  • Dual Language Education
  • Culturally Responsive Education
  • Heritage Language Education
  • Bilingualism
  • Irish Language
  • Family & Community Engagement in English language learning
  • Multilingualism
  • Curriculum Design
  • Academic English Design, Practices and Assessments
  • Linguistic and Cultural Acquisition amid Migrant Communities
  • Discourse Analysis, Folklore and Ethnography
  • Case studies based in local primary and secondary schools
  • Motivation in Language Learning

If you are interested in pursuing postgraduate research relating to any of the above areas we encourage you to contact us in order to discuss a placement in CELLT.
CELLT is committed to disseminating knowledge on best practice in the field of English language learning and teaching to educators and the general public. If you are an educator, practitioner, parent or student interested in opportunities to develop your educational expertise in English Language Learning please contact us at

Current Research Projects

Heritage Language Education in Context: A Case Study of New Mexico (PI, Dr. Sarah O’Brien)

The aim of this project is to explore features of heritage language education in Northern New Mexico, particularly as they pertain to the population's 80% Hispanic and 11% Native American communities. Over the last decade, language planning at state level has led to the delivery of heritage language programs designed to expose students to the languages that were traditionally spoken within their homes and communities, particularly Spanish and the Native American languages (Keres, Tewa, Tiwa, Towa) of New Mexico's indigenous pueblo communities (Figures 1, 3). Despite these interventions, consecutive educational reports from New Mexico Public Education Department since 2010 have reported accelerated rates of decline in Spanish and Native American language proficiency together with high drop-out rates from bilingual/ multicultural school programs. In order to more fully understand the factors that underlie these results this project seeks to conduct a qualitative field research project amid impacted communities and, in so doing, to address the following research questions; What are teachers, parents, community members and students' attitudes to the use of heritage languages (Spanish and Tewa) in the school, home and community; how do heritage language attitudes vary across different socio-economic and ethnic groups in Northern New Mexico; what is the relationship between social attitudes to heritage language use and heritage language program performance in New Mexico.

Funding Agency: Trinity College Dublin Arts & Benefactions Fund

MPhil Theses in Progress

Zhang, Jingyuan, ‘Teaching English as Second Language for Chinese Students from Different Backgrounds’

Cabezon, Estitxu, ‘Attitudes towards the usage of the L1 in the teaching of the L2 in beginner levels’

Garska, Jessica, ‘Identity, Power and Culture in International Students’ Academic Writing

O’Braonain, Ciaran, ‘Je Suis Gaelgoir: New Speakers of Irish in Contintal Europe’

PhD Theses in Progress

Abed, Lowai, ‘Gulf Pidgin Arabic: An Investigation of its Emergence and Social Attitude’

Selected Publications, Dr. Sarah O’Brien

Sarah O Brien, Conversations with the Irish in Argentina, In review, 2017. Book, 2017
Sarah O'Brien, Irish Women's Involvement in Birmingham's Union of Catholic Mothers, 1939 - 1975, Midlands History, (Spring-Summer), 2014Journal Article, 2014
Politics, Community and Nationhood in Irish - Argentine Oral Narrative in, Micheal O' Aodhaand Mairtin O' Cathain , The Silent People? New Perspectives on the Irish Abroad, London, Lexington, Rowman and Littlefield, 2013, [Sarah O'Brien]Book Chapter, 2013
Sarah O'Brien, Westmeath - Argentine Narratives of Tradition and Identity, Riocht na Midhe Historical Series, (Spring), 2013Journal Article, 2013
Narrative encounters with the Irish in Birmingham in, editor(s)Nessa Cronin, Seán Crosson, Louis de Paor and John Eastlake , Anáil an Bhéil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009, [Sarah O'Brien]Book Chapter, 2009
The Stranger within my gate'; Irish emigrant narratives of tradition, modernity and exile in, editor(s)Marta Kurkowska-Budzan, Krzysztof Zamorski , Oral History: The Challenges of Dialogue, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2009, [Sarah O'Brien]Book Chapter, 2009
Sarah O'Brien, Negotiations of Identity in the Wake of Terrorism: A Case Study of the Irish in Birmingham 1973-74, Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesJournal Article,
Sarah O'Brien, The Irish-Catholic paradigm in England: A Case Study of Selected Parishes, 1955-1965, Eire-Ireland Journal Article,