Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Digital Empowerment in Language Teaching (DELTEA) project receives ESRC funding

Published: 13 December 2022

One of the UK’s largest research funding bodies, the ESRC, has announced projects that will be funded under its important new Education Research Programme commencing 1 December 2022. Its aim is to fund research into the use of technology in teaching and learning, including its role in the training, supply and retention of teachers.

We are delighted to announce that a team of researchers based at the Universities of Southampton and Reading has won three-year funding (£850,000) from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), via the ESRC Education Research Programme.

Led by Dr Alison Porter, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics, University of Southampton, and in collaboration with Professor Suzanne Graham, Dr Pengchong Zhang (Reading), Dr Kate Borthwick, James Turner (Southampton) and Travis Ralph-Donaldson, the Digital Empowerment in Language Teaching (DELTEA) project aims to enable a step-change in foreign language teaching and learning in the primary school.  It will investigate whether and how digital technology can: 1) improve teachers' language knowledge and classroom skills; 2) foster teachers' ability to enhance pupil language and literacy skills, including their empathy and creativity; and 3) whether such improvements also have a positive impact on teacher confidence, motivation, job satisfaction and commitment to FL teaching.

The project will firstly develop a digital professional development programme for primary foreign language teachers in England and Scotland and will track any resulting changes in teacher language knowledge and classroom skills, teacher motivation, professional confidence, job satisfaction and commitment to teach languages. In its second phase, it will develop and evaluate a digital literacy teaching intervention, for improving learners' French or Spanish language and literacy outcomes, as well as their creativity and empathy for the foreign language culture. Finally, it will create and evaluate a scaled-up, peer-supported version of the digital professional development programme and roll it out to all four UK nations whilst gathering evidence of stakeholder engagement with languages education in primary schools.

Commenting on the award, Dr Porter said: “The DELTEA team are excited to lead this timely investigation into an ‘at-risk’ but important subject in the primary curriculum which is at different stages of policy rollout across the four nations.  We look forward to joining the ESRC Education Research Programme community to advance our understanding of key issues in education research and to collaborating with schools and education stakeholders to support the teaching and learning of primary languages.”

Privacy Settings