Maria Ellison is Assistant Professor in English language and language teacher education at the Faculty of Letters, University of Porto (FLUP) and belongs to the Department of Anglo-American Studies. She has a doctorate in Didactics of Foreign Language Teaching from FLUP (2014) and holds an MA in TESOL from the University of Manchester and an honours degree in Primary Education from Bath Spa University College. Since she began working at FLUP in 1998, she has taught ESP, EAP and general English on a variety of under-graduate and post-graduate courses. Since 2005, she has been involved in English language teacher education for the MAs in teaching English and another foreign language in basic and secondary education. She teaches didactics on these and PhD programmes, and is involved in the practicum supervision of student-teachers. She runs in-service teacher development courses on Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).
Maria Ellison is a collaborating member of TEALS. Her main research interests include:
Reflective practice and action research in pre-service foreign language teacher education. She has conducted research related to student-teachers’ perspectives on action research during the teaching practicum (the subject of her MA dissertation). More recent research has been about the dimensions of teachers’ reflections, and has involved the development of a rubric/tool for analysing types of reflection. She is currently experimenting with online dialogue journals as a means to stimulate and develop types of reflection during a teaching practicum, and the effectiveness of critical incidents as an aid to student-teachers’ articulations of assertions which connect theory with practice.
Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL). Drawing on her own initial training and experience of teaching primary aged children in the UK and Portugal, she has become actively involved in pre- and in-service teacher education for young learners at FLUP and is the director of the Masters degree in Teaching English in the first cycle of primary education. She is particularly interested in integrated approaches to teaching young learners and developing critical thinking (see “Making and doing (in) English: Incorporating ELT into Best primary Practice.” APPI Journal (Autumn 2008); “Make them think! Using stories in the primary English language classroom to develop critical thinking.” E-Fabulations. 7 (2010)).
She was responsible for the pedagogic coordination of STEPS – UP (Support for Teaching English in Primary Schools – University of Porto), 2005 – 2009. During this time she conducted research into primary English language teachers’ experiences with CLIL (see “(De)Constructing CLIL in the primary context: Primary practice revisited and reconsidered.” APPI Journal (Autumn 2010)). In 2008, STEPS – UP was awarded the European Language Label (Selo Europeu) and in 2012, declared the best award winner in the 10-year history of the Language Label in Portugal by the National Agency, PROALV. STEPS-UP is a case study of NELLIP (Network of European Language Labelled Initiatives).
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). Her research interests in CLIL span all cycles of education from primary to tertiary. Early research in primary contexts resulted in a set of criteria for monitoring evidence of scaffolding in planning and administering of CLIL lessons. Her doctoral research examined the foci and types of reflection of primary English language teachers who carried out CLIL projects in Portuguese primary schools (thesis – “CLIL as a Catalyst for Developing Reflective Practice in Foreign Language Teacher Education”). She is the external advisor of the GoCLIL project at Escola Dr. Joaquim Gomes Ferreira Alves, Valadares where she is monitoring the implementation process and stakeholder perspectives (see “Implementing CLIL in schools: the case of the GoCLIL project” (E-TEALS 2017 forthcoming). Other publications on CLIL include: “Examining teacher roles and competences in Content and Language Integrated Learning.” Linguarum Arena 4 (2013) co-authored with Victor Pavon; “CLIL: The added value to foreign language teacher education for young learners.” Linguarum Arena (2015), “CLIL in the Primary School Context” in the Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners (forthcoming). She was pedagogic coordinator of Higher STEPS – English for Academic Purposes for teaching staff of the University of Porto (UP) and conducted research into teachers’ perceptions of ‘need’ (see “Teachers’ perceptions of need in EAP/CLIL contexts” co-authored with Sofia Araújo, Marta Correia and Fátima Vieira in Jennifer Valcke and Robert Wilkinson (eds) Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education: Perspectives on Professional Practice, Frankfurt: Peter Lang. 2017: 59-76).