Applied Linguistics & Communication are delighted to welcome Dr Sandra Morales to the team!
Sandra is already a researcher here in ECLS, working on the VEO project with, among others, Paul Seedhouse. She officially started her role as Teaching Assistant in the ALC section as of Monday (1 February). As well as teaching on MA modules, Sandra will be tutoring and supervising MA students. She will also be involved in some other exciting projects!
For those of you who don’t her Sandra already, here is a bit more about her, in her own words:
I came to Newcastle in 2010 to start my PhD in Educational and Applied Linguistics as I have always been passionate about language studies! In Chile, my home country, I did a Bachelor’s degree in English-French and Spanish Translation (Je parle le Francais aussi!) followed by a Master’s degree in Linguistics. While doing my MA I taught communicative English in higher education. This experience made me realize how much I enjoyed language teaching so I decided to go to the United States (Boston, MA) and do a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. After that, I worked as a teacher trainer with students who were going to be English teachers in Chile. I have to admit that sometimes I miss those days! Fortunately, I have kept in touch with my old students-now colleagues- so we can share our experiences with language learners and continue learning together!
My area of research is Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and everything that is related to blended and online learning! My interest in educational technology for language learning and teaching started when I was doing my MA and learned how technological resources were being used to support Second Language Acquisition (SLA). I have conducted research about the use of blended learning and Task Based Language Teaching in the L2 classroom, as well as in CALL teacher education. I have observed how teachers develop their teaching skills when trained in online communities in order to improve models and strategies for teacher training courses. During my academic career, I have been able to present my research in prestigious conferences such as EuroCALL, BAAL and WorldCALL. I have collaborated with colleagues in the field of CALL (my most recent publication is with Scott Windeatt from ECLS) and disseminated my work in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT).
In ECLS, I am currently involved in the Erasmus+ VEO (Video Enhanced Observation) Europa project where I work alongside Professor Paul Seedhouse, Paul Miller, Jon Haines and partners in the UK, Germany, Finland, Turkey and Bulgaria. In this project I have had the opportunity to further develop my research skills and apply my expertise as an educational technologist and teacher educator.
As part of the Applied Linguistics and Communication section, I will collaborate with other members of staff in some of the taught modules (e.g. TESOL for Young Learners with Dr Chris Leyland), tutor students and supervise MA dissertations. I will also be able to use my knowledge in CALL, e-learning and curriculum design to produce online materials. This will help to enhance the learning experience of our learners across the MA programmes.
In the future, I expect to develop collaborative research projects that involve working with language teachers and technology. I strongly believe that hearing teachers’ voices is key to promote their ‘digital self-esteem’ and improve language learning and teaching with technological resources. For this purpose, I would like to take my PhD research a step forward and enhance the online teacher training model I implemented during my doctoral studies. I am also interested in the training of online tutors and the different roles they play in the development of online communities.
So far, I have really enjoyed my time in Newcastle University and life in the North East! I look forward to working with students and all my colleagues in Applied Linguistics and Communication.