Skip to main content

School of Education

Professor Li Li

Professor Li Li

Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement / Professor in Applied Linguistics and Language Education


 +44 (0) 1392 722880



BA, MPhil, PCAP, PhD

Li Li is Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). She is responsible for the Faculty’s global strategy, engagement, and activities, including developing global partnerships, enhancing global reputation, leading international student recruitment, and enriching student and staff global experience. Li Li is also Deputy Secretary-General for the UK-China Humanities Alliance, a grouping of some of the best universities in the UK and China, focusing on developing research and connections in the Humanities. She coordinates the work for the Alliance among the member universities in the UK.

Before her role as APVC, she was Associate Dean of Global (ADG) in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies (SSIS). Other leadership roles include Assistant ADG for SSIS, Director of Research, and Director of Global Engagement at the Graduate School of Education. 

Li Li has been involved in English language teaching and research for nearly 20 years and has worked in various cultural contexts. Her research areas include teacher cognition, 'applied' conversation analysis, social interaction, thinking skills, and technology-enhanced language learning. She has widely published in these areas. She has founded and is leading international research groups such as THINK Network and the Exeter-Fudan Global Thought Network. The most recent project is a research monograph, Language Teacher Cognition: A Sociocultural Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), which aims to expand the understanding of teacher cognition from a sociocultural perspective, highlighting the significance of 'context' and 'social interaction' in the development of one's knowledge. This book is built on her book Social Interaction and Teacher Cognition (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), which discusses teachers' knowledge, understanding, believing, conceptualizing, and stance-taking using discursive psychology. Her recent project also includes Thinking Skills and Creativity in Second Language Education (Routledge, 2019), and she has also co-edited Routledge Handbook for Researching in Teaching Thinking Skills, which has been sold worldwide. She has a long passion for integrating technology in teaching and learning, and her book on New Technologies and Language Learning (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) is an example of where learning theories meet new technological tools and apps in a language setting. This book has been widely used by researchers, teachers, and teacher trainers. The most recent projects that she has led include an international project funded by ESRC and MOST (Taiwan) investigating the development of second/foreign language teachers' digital literacies across different cultures and an international project on 'Deconolising Curriculum' with Jadavpur University (India) funded by British Council Going Global Scheme. 

Outside the university, Li has been invited as guest editor of a prestigious journal, Thinking Skills and Creativity, and serves on the editorial board for Thinking Skills and Creativity and Classroom Discourse. She also serves as a reviewer for prestigious journals in education, applied linguistics, and TESOL. In 2012, she was elected to the British Association for Applied Linguistics Executive Committee. She acted as Seminar co-ordinator until 2019, working closely with Cambridge University Press and Routledge to develop funding schemes to support seminars and research development workshops. Her work is very influential in international contexts. She has been invited by many prestigious universities in China, the UK, Spain, and the USA as a guest speaker and a visiting professor, including Tsinghua University, East China Normal University, Beijing Normal University, the University of Hong Kong, and Chinese University of Political Science and Law in China.

She is a very experienced doctoral supervisor who has successfully supervised 26 PhD projects and currently supervises 11 doctoral students worldwide. 

Her article about teachers' beliefs is featured in Taylors and Francis Group what’s trending in language and linguistics? You can read it for free here:

Want to know important issues in using computer-assisted language learning?  Read the online article here:

If you are interested in developing thinking skills in language education, you might find this white paper useful: Pathways for the development of student's critical thinking in EAP programmes


  • PhD in Applied Linguistics and TESOL 
  • MPhil in Second Langauge Education Across Cultures
  • BA in English Literature and English Language Teaching
  • PCAP


Research group links

Back to top


Research interests

My research interests include 

  • Language teacher cognition
  • Thinking skills
  • Social interaction
  • Technology use in (language) education 

I am also interested in mixed methodology and sociocultural theory and welcome research proposals and collaboration in these areas.

Research projects

I am currently working on the following projects:

  • Decolonising Curriculum 
  • Digital Literacies for Second Language Teachers 
  • The role of metacognition in the success of reading and writing tasks across cultures
  • Teacher cognition about developing critical and creative thinking skills across cultures

Research networks

UK-China Humanities Alliance for Higher Education 

Exeter-Fudan Global Thought Network

Think Network

Research grants

  • 2022 British Council
    Building Connections to Decolonise the Curriculum
  • 2021 Economic and Social Research Council
    Developing digital literacies for second/foreign language teachers
  • 2021 The International Society for Chinese Language Teaching
    International Chinese education and creativity
  • 2018 British Association of Applied Linguistics
    BAAL-Routledge Research Development Workshop: Language Teacher Cognition Research
  • 2015 British Council
    The role of metacognition in the success of reading and writing tasks across Cultures

Back to top



Wong S, Yang H, He W, Li L (eds)(2023). 重塑人文学:中英人文对话(第一辑). China, the Commercial Press.
Li L (2020). Language Teacher Cognition: a Sociocultural Perspective. London, Springer Nature Limited (Palgrave Macmillan). Abstract.
Li L (2019). Thinking Skills and Creativity in Second Language Education Case Studies from International Perspectives., Routledge. Abstract.
Li L (2017). New Technologies and Language Learning.
Li L (2017). Social Interaction and Teacher Cognition. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press. Abstract.
Wegerif R, Li L, Kaufman JC (2015). The routledge international handbook of research on teaching thinking. Abstract.

Journal articles

Wu X, Gao Y, Li L (In Press). A Narrative Inquiry into English Teachers’ Identity and its Relationship with Belief and Agency : Insights from an Overseas Training Programme. 外语与外语教学 (Foreign Languages and Their Teaching)
Li L (In Press). Cognition-in-interaction: a Discursive Psychological Perspective of Novice Language Teacher Cognition. TESL - EJ Abstract.
Li L (In Press). Integrating thinking skills in foreign language learning: Whatcan we learn from teachers’ perspectives?. Thinking Skills and Creativity
Li L (In Press). Should we teach critical thinking?. Secondary ELT
Li L (In Press). 基于海外研修项目的外语教师身份认同及其与信念、能动性关系的叙事探究. A Narrative Inquiry into English Teachers’ Identity and its Relationship with Belief and Agency: Insights from an Overseas Training Programme. 外语与外语教学 Abstract.
Li L (2023). Critical thinking from the ground up: teachers’ conceptions and practice in EFL classrooms. Teachers and Teaching, 29(6), 571-593.
Moorhouse BL, Wong KM, Li L (2023). Teaching with Technology in the Post-Pandemic Digital Age: Technological Normalisation and AI-Induced Disruptions. RELC Journal, 54(2), 311-320.
Li L (2021). Language Use and Group Dynamics: Observations from a Project-Oriented CALL Classroom. Teaching English Language, 15(1), 281-311. Abstract.
Li L (2021). Learning Together Online: Insights into Knowledge Construction of Language Teachers in a CSCL Environment. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 9, 39-62. Abstract.
Li L (2020). Book review. System, 94, 102321-102321.
Li L (2020). Novice teachers' discursive construction of their identity: Insights from foreign language classrooms. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 8(3), 57-76. Abstract.
Li Z, Li L (2019). An examination of kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about creative pedagogy and their perceived implementation in teaching practices. Thinking Skills and Creativity, n/a, n-n/a.
Pifarré M, Li L (2018). Characterizing and unpacking learning to learn together skills in a wiki project in primary education. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 29, 45-58. Abstract.
Sert O, Li L (2017). A qualitative study on CALL knowledge and materials design: Insights from pre-service EFL teachers. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 7(3), 73-87. Abstract.
Li L (2016). Thinking skills and creativity in second language education: Where are we now?. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 22, 267-272.
Memari Hanjani A, Li L (2014). EFL learners’ written reflections on their experience of attending. process-based, student-centered essay writing course. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 149-166.
Memari Hanjani A, Li L (2014). Exploring L2 writers’ collaborative revision interactions and their writing performance. System(44), 101-114. Abstract.
Li L (2014). Understanding language teachers' practice with educational technology: a case from China. System(46), 105-119. Abstract.
Walsh S, Li L (2013). Conversations as space for learning. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(2), 247-266. Abstract.
Li L, Simpson R (2013). Telling tales: discursive narratives of ESOL migrant identities. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 7(1), 1-16. Abstract.
Li L (2013). The complexity of language teachers’ beliefs and practice: one EFL teacher’s theories. Language Learning Journal, 41(2), 175-191.
Li L, Wegerif R (2013). What does it mean to teach thinking in China? Challenging and developing notions of 'Confucian Education'. Thinking Skills and Creativity, online
Li L (2012). Belief construction and development: Two tales of Non-native English speaking student teachers in a TESOL programme. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 6(1), 33-58. Abstract.
Alghamdi A, Li L (2012). Teaching Arabic and the Preparation of its Teachers before Service in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education, 3(1), 665-668.
Pifarré M, Li L (2012). Teaching how to learn with a wiki in primary education: What classroom interaction can tell us. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 1(2), 102-113.
Li L, Walsh S (2011). 'Seeing is Believing': Looking at EFL Teachers' Beliefs through Classroom Interaction. Classroom Discourse, 2(1), 39-57. Abstract.
Li L (2011). Obstacles and opportunities for developing thinking through interaction in language classrooms. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(3), 146-158.
Li L, Walsh S (2011). Technology uptake in Chinese EFL classes. Language Teaching Research, 15(1), 99-125. Abstract.
Li L (2010). Introduction to the special issue: 'Thinking skills and creativity: SE Asian perspectives'. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 5(3), 99-100.


Li L (2023). Developing Language Teacher Cognition about Technology-Enhanced Assessment: a Case of Student Teachers in a TESOL Programme. In  (Ed) Innovation in Learning-Oriented Language Assessment, Springer Nature, 277-294.
Li L (2023). Technology + Pedagogy in EFL Virtual Classrooms: University Teachers’ Professional Needs on Technology-Enhanced Pedagogy. In  (Ed) Second Language Teacher Professional Development, Springer Nature, 169-190.
Li L (2023). Thriving in the New Normal for Language Learning: Challenges, Needs and Opportunities of International Universities. In Wong S, Yang H, He W, Li L (Eds.) 重塑人文学:中英人文对话, the Commercial Press: the Commercial Press.
Li L (2022). Learning to Teach: a Discursive Construction of Pre-service EFL Teachers’ Identities. In  (Ed) Theory and Practice in Second Language Teacher Identity, Springer Nature, 105-120.
Morris GR, Xu J, Li L (2022). Transitioning to the New Normal. In  (Ed) Cases on Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) During COVID-19, IGI Global, 205-229. Abstract.
Morris GR, Xu J, Li L (2022). Transitioning to the new normal: Experiences from a sino-british institution. In  (Ed) Cases on Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) During COVID-19: Insights from Around the World, 205-229. Abstract.
Fan X, Li L (2021). Breaking the Stereotypes. In  (Ed) Advances in Early Childhood and K-12 Education, IGI Global, 108-129. Abstract.
Li L, Morris GR (2021). Thriving in the New Normal. In  (Ed) Trends and Developments for the Future of Language Education in Higher Education, IGI Global, 253-271. Abstract.
Li L, Morris GR (2021). Thriving in the new normal: In-service professional development needs and experiences. In  (Ed) Trends and Developments for the Future of Language Education in Higher Education, 253-271. Abstract.
Li L (2019). "Thinking" move in second language education. In  (Ed) Thinking Skills and Creativity in Second Language Education: Case Studies from International Perspectives, 1-16.
Li L (2019). Teacher cognition and teacher expertise. In  (Ed) The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teacher Education, 335-349.
Li L (2017). Integrating Technology in ESP: Pedagogical Principles and Practice. In  (Ed) Integrating Information and Communication Technologies in English for Specific Purposes, Springer Nature, 7-25.
Li L (2016). CALL tools for lexico-grammatical acquisition. In  (Ed) The Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology, 461-477. Abstract.
Li L (2016). CALL tools for lexico-grammatical acquisition. In  (Ed) The Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology, 461-477.
Walsh S, Li L (2016). Classroom talk, interaction and collaboration. In  (Ed) The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching, 486-498.
Li L (2015). A Confucian perspective on teaching thinking in China. In  (Ed) The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Teaching Thinking, 45-57.
Liu PY, Li L (2015). An overview of metacognitive awareness and L2 reading strategies. In  (Ed) The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Teaching Thinking, 266-279.
Memari Hanjani A, Li L (2015). Peer Collaboration in L2 Writing; an Iranian Experience. In Kennedy C (Ed) English language teaching in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Innovations, trends and challenges, British Council. 93-93.
Li L (2015). What’s the use of technology? Insights from EFL classrooms in Chinese secondary schools. In Jenks C, Seedhouse P (Eds.) International Perspectives on Classroom Interaction, Palgrave, 168-187.
Jackson MA (2012). Introduction. In  (Ed) The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-17.


Li L (2012). Language teacher’ collaborative knowledge construction in web-based discussion. 45th Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics. 6th - 8th Sep 2012.
Li L (2011). Understanding language teachers’ behaviour and concerns with technology: a Chinese perspective. 16th World Congress of Applied Linguisitcs. 22nd - 28th Aug 2011.
Li L (2010). Conversations as space for learning. International Symposium: New Insights into the Study of Conversation. Applications to the Language Classroom. 26th - 28th May 2010. Abstract.
Li L (2009). ‘Seeing is believing': looking at teachers' beliefs through classroom interaction. BAAL. 3rd - 5th Sep 2009. Abstract.


Li L (2019). Pathways for the development of students’ critical thinking in EAP programmes., Cambridge University Press.

Back to top

External Engagement and Impact

Committee/panel activities

British Association for Applied Linguistics Executive Committee (Seminar co-ordinator) (2012-2017)

  • BAAL-CUP Seminar Series
  • BAAL-Routledge Research Development Workshop

Editorial responsibilities

Special Issue editor

  • Thinking Skills and Creativity: SE Asian Perspective (2010)
  • Thinking Skills and Creativity in Second Language Education (2016)

Editorial Board

  • Classroom Discourse
  • System 
  • Thinking Skills and Creativity 

External Examiner Positions

Certificate in Professional Education, University College Plymouth St Mark and St John (2010-2011)

External doctoral examining nationally and internationally

I have examined PhD theses in the following universities:

  • University of Cambrdige
  • The University of Hong Kong
  • University of Southampton
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Leicester
  • Birkbeck university

International recognition, such as international research collaborations, visiting research posts in overseas institutions, involvement at senior levels in international research associations, acting as referee for national and international research councils.

I have been invited to the following university as visitng professor to conduct collaborative research

  • Tsinghua University (China)
  • East China Normal University (China)
  • China University of Political Science and Law (China)
  • Lleida University (Spain)

Back to top


I am interested in the following topics and have designed and taught various modules.

  • Classroom discourse
  • Teaching methodology
  • Research methodology in Applied Linguistics
  • e-learning and new technologies in language education
  • Teacher cognition and teacher education / professional development

At MEd level, I am teaching the following modules:

  • EFPM 267 Language Awareness 
  • EFPM 309 New Technologies and Language Learning (module leader)

I have also developed a module specifically for teachers with less two years teaching experience

  • EFPM 280 Developing Practical Knowledge for TESOL Classrooms

At doctoral level, I have been involved in various modules, and currently I am teaching and leading the following module:

  • EEDD043 Perspectives on Professionalism



Information not currently available

Back to top

Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Eyyüp Fatih Vasi

Postgraduate researchers

  • Dan (Belinda) Li
  • Zhiyuan Ma
  • Neil O'Flaherty
  • Donna Shaw
  • Defang Zhao


  • Ahmed Al Ghamdi
  • Ahmed Al Ghamdi
  • Badriya Al Mamari
  • Kawther Rashed Al Mawoda Exploring Secondary Teachers Perceptions towards Teaching
  • Younis Al Shabibi
  • Bader Alharb An investigation into dictionary use by Saudi tertiary EFL students
  • Ahmad Alsagoafi
  • Omar Alsaif
  • Yasir Alyafaei
  • George Antoniou
  • Jason Di Gennaro
  • Xuying Fan
  • Cheng Guan
  • Sofia Hashim
  • Lucas Kohnke
  • Apple Leelasopawut
  • Ping-Yu Liu
  • Xiaohan Liu
  • Alireza Memari Hanjani
  • Gareth Morris
  • Yijia Ni
  • Maria Papayianni An investigation into English language teachers CALL use in secondary education in Cyprus, their beliefs about using technology in teaching, and the factors that influence EFL teachers CALL use
  • Richard Peel
  • Yimeng Zhang

Back to top

Edit Profile