Dr Agneta Svalberg

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision

Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics

Dr Agneta Svalberg

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7503

Email: amls2@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 1210, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


I lived in Mexico and then Greece for a few years, working as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Through these teaching experiences I developed an interest in the workings of English grammar, which resulted in a PhD thesis on tense-modality-aspect in English and Modern Greek (University of Sydney, Australia). Following this, I lectured in Applied Linguistics at Universiti Brunei Darussalam where I researched non-standard uses of grammar, and explored approaches to grammar teaching pedagogy.

In 2000 I joined the University of Leicester where I teach on the MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL programmes, both the campus-based and distance learning modes of delivery. I am joint programme leader of the MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL (DL). I also tutor and supervise PhD students.


  • BA Linguistics Lund University
  • PhD Linguistics University of Sydney
  • Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


Selected publications

  • With J. Askham, 'Teacher and learner perceptions of adult foreign language learners’ engagement with consciousness raising tasks in four languages', Language Awareness, 29(3-4). (2020 In press) DOI: 10.1080/09658416.2020.1785483
  • 'Engagement With Language in Relation to Form-Focused Versus Meaning-Focused Teaching and Learning'. In Hiver, P., Mercer, S. & Al-Hoorie, A. H. (Eds.) Engagement in the Second Language Classroom. Multilingual Matters. (2020 In press)
  • 'Mapping tense form and meaning for L2 learning – from theory to practice', International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching (2018). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2016-0105.
  • 'Researching language engagement; current trends and future directions', Language Awareness 27.1-2 (2018): 21-39
  • 'The Eric Hawkins Lecture - Language Awareness research: where we are now', Special Issue. Language Awareness: Achievements & Challenges,  Language Awareness 25.1 (2016)
  • 'Understanding the Complex Processes in Developing Student Teachers' Knowledge About Grammar'. In Kubanyiova, M. and Feryok, A. (eds) Special Issue on Language Teacher Cognition in Applied Linguistics Research: Revisiting the Territory, Redrawing the Boundaries, Reclaiming the Relevance, Modern Language Journal 99.3 (2015): 529-45
  • With C. Finkbeiner, (eds.) Language Awarenes; Awareness Matters - Language, Culture, Literacy (Routledge, 2015)
  • With J. Askham, 'A dynamic perspective on student language teachers' different learning pathways in a collaborative context', in J. King (ed.),The dynamic interplay between context and the language learner (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 172-93
  • With J. Askham, 'Student teachers' collaborative construction of Grammar Awareness: The case of a highly competent learner', Language Awareness, 23.1-2 (2014): 122-36
  • With G. Fulcher, 'Limited Aspects of Reality: Frames of reference in language assessment', International Journal of English Studies 13.2 (2013). Second language testing: Interfaces between Pedagogy and Assessment. pp.1-20.
  • 'Language Learning and Teaching: Teaching for Language Awareness', in C.A. Chapelle (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
  • 'Language Awareness in language learning and teaching: A research agenda', Language Teaching 45.3 (2012): 376-88
  • 'Peer Interaction, Cognitive Conflict and Anxiety on a Grammar Awareness Course for Language Teachers', Language Awareness 21.1-2 (2012): 137-56
  • 'Engagement with Language: Developing a Construct.  Language Awareness', 18.3-4 (2009): 242-58
  • 'Language Awareness and Language Learning',  Language Teaching 40.4 (2007): 287-308


My own teaching is informed by my interest in the principles which underlie the theory and practice of Language Awareness. In my research I have explored the use of a consciousness raising approach to raise English Foreign Language Teachers' awareness of grammar in context and, more generally, to facilitate learners’ Engagement With Language.

My main research interests focus on the use of grammar, the teaching and learning of grammar and Language Awareness.  My other interests include peer interaction, tense - aspect - modality in English and other languages, and textual borrowing (plagiarism) and attitudes to knowledge.

Currently I and my colleague Dr Jim Askham are engaged in research with Languages@Leicester, a section within Modern Languages which offers non-credit bearing courses in 17 languages. We are investigating the viability and effectiveness of teachers (in a range of foreign languages) designing and implementing their own consciousness raising grammar tasks, coupled with opportunities for communicative interaction. Leicester Learning Institute are providing the funding.

I am a committee member and trustee of the Association for Language Awareness - an international, multidisciplinary organization, which promotes Language Awareness and holds international conferences every two years (see ala2018.com).


I teach on the following modules for the courses listed below:

MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL (Campus-based)

  • EN7312 Grammar Awareness
  • EN7311 Second Language Learning
  • EN7300/7307 Research Methods for Dissertation/Professional Enquiry

MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL (Distance Learning)

  • I am module convenor for EN7523 Grammar Awareness

I supervise PhD students within my areas of interest and teach on the Doctoral Studies Research Methods programme.

In my teaching and supervision, I strive to develop learning opportunities, and the ability of the students to perceive and take advantage of those opportunities. In my teaching of grammar I use a Language Awareness approach, which encourages students' engagement with authentic language use in collaborative tasks.


I would particularly welcome applicants interested in teachers' or learners' Language Awareness, including the learning/teaching of grammar, and Engagement With Language.

Topics investigated by some of my recent supervisees include:

Other ongoing doctoral thesis research projects by my students include classroom intervention studies on aspects of grammar teaching/learning/awareness raising.

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