Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities
(023) 8059 1953

Dr Alison Porter BA, MA, PhD

Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Dr Alison Porter's photo

Dr Alison Porter is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Southampton with a particular focus on educational linguistics.

I joined the Modern Languages & Linguistics team at Southampton in January 2015, having previously studied here for an MA in Applied Linguistics (Research Methodology) and PhD In Modern Languages.  My thesis explored the design, implementation and evaluation of a principle pedagogical approach for the simultaneous teaching of French oracy and literacy in two English primary school classrooms.

I have worked as an English language teacher of adults, teenagers and children in both the United Kingdom and Australia.  I also spent ten years (2002-2012) working as a FL teacher in English primary schools.

My work investigating the interface between research and teaching practice continues and I have been engaged a multi-institutional research project (FLEUR – Foreign Language Education: Unlocking Reading).  I have also spent the last six years building links with practitioners across the UK and beyond in order to build research-informed FL pedagogies and to support professional development through teachers in initiating research in their own classrooms.

Through work with the Research in Primary Languages (RiPL) network, I have been involved in events to explore and initiate recommendations to support the implementation of the primary FL policy in England.

Research interests

My research expertise centres around the teaching and learning of languages in instructed settings, particularly in schools. I am interested in the development of literacy in additional languages and the role of crosslinguistic influence in language learning. In previous research projects, I have explored the role of instructional approaches on outcomes (phonics, reading strategies) and the importance of predictors in the development of L2literacy and language learning generally.

First supervisions:

Virginia Mercau – Teacher cognition and primary EFL teachers in Mexico.

Fatimah Alghamdi – The development of biliteracy in the home: literacy practices and sociocultural learning.

Haziqah Binti Al Aris – Pre-service teacher cognition and practice.  An investigation of Multiliteracies pedagogy in Malaysia.

Kamelia Kerkache – A critical examination of cultural and intercultural awareness in Algerian middle school EFL and FFL textbooks.

Jo Dixon (with ECS) – Technology and literacy development in adult, migrant learners at an ESL centre.

Research Projects

Award 1: Nuffield Foundation: EDU/42585.  Total award: £171,675. 2016-2018.

A multi-institutional bid with the Universities of Oxford (Principal Investigator – Dr Robert Woore), Reading (Co-Investigators – Professor Suzanne Graham, Dr Louise Courtney) and Southampton (Co-Investigator – Dr Alison Porter). 

This was a randomised controlled trial which investigates the effects of either a) phonics instruction or b) reading strategy instruction on KS3 French learners (aged 11-13).  The study explored outcomes such as: reading comprehension, word decoding, vocabulary learning, self-efficacy and motivation.  Final Report

Award 2: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account ES/M500458/1.:  University of Southampton Primary Foreign Language Practice and Research Partnership (SUPL).  Total award: £5,155. 2017-2018.

A University of Southampton Impact initiative which involves collaboration with a group of primary FL teachers to promote, develop and experiment with principled and innovative FL literacy practice.  Web presence

Award 3: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account ES/M500458/1:  Follow on funding University of Southampton Primary Foreign Language Practice and Research Partnership (SUPL).  Total award: £7804.12. 2018-2019

This award aims to build on existing collaboration to support teachers in further developing foreign language literacy and formative assessment practices.  It will also seek to extend the reach and significance of the SUPL 2017-18 work.

Award 4: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account University of Southampton and University of Essex.  2019-20. Total award: £30,000.00 This inter-institutional award involved the design and production of a free, online course (MOOC) Teaching and Learning Languages in Primary Schools: Putting Research into Practice.

The MOOC builds on impact activities conducted by RiPL and SUPL.

Affiliate research groups

CLEAR, Management Committee Research in Primary Languages Network , Committee Member BAAL Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group

Research project(s)

SUPL: Southampton University Primary Languages

This initiative in 2017-18 involved collaboration with a group of primary FL teachers to promote, develop and experiment with principled and innovative FL literacy practice.  

FLEUR: French Language Education: Unlocking Reading

A multi-institutional research project led by the University of Oxford, with Reading and Southampton as co-investigators.

Co-Editor – Language Learning Journal.

Sort via:TypeorYear


Book Chapters


Journal Special Issue


Module convenor and lecturer:

  • LING 6041 Developing Approaches to Language Teaching
  • LING 6044 Teaching FLs to Younger Learners
  • RESM6303 Qualitative Research Methods.


  • LING 2002 Psycholinguistics
Dr Alison Porter
Avenue Campus
University of Southampton
SO17 1BF

Room Number : 65/3061

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings