Role of language in discipline-specific knowledge and understanding

Bee Bond, Languages, Cultures and Societies

Understanding the significant role language plays in shaping discipline-specific knowledge and understanding; smoothing international student transitions

As the number of international students studying in the UK increases, particularly at taught post-graduate level, there is a concurrent increase in the need to consider the barriers to learning faced by this cohort of students.

Understandings of, and support in relation to, these barriers now need to be more nuanced and problematized, and to reach further than specialised international student offices or the provision of extra-curricular language support.

Instead, they need to become embedded in core curricular practices.

Bee explores these issues further as part of her LITE project. Read here the full executive summary.

READ: The Long Read: Inclusive teaching and learning for international students

READ: Bee’s LITE blog ‘The Importance of Language for Learning’

WATCH: LITE Excellence and Innovation Fellow Bee Bond talks about her project

For more information contact Bee at:

Internal impact and dissemination

University and School curriculum

  • Contributor to the University’s Inclusive Learning & Teaching task and finish group
  • 2FTE secondment to OD&PL to support embedding of internationalisation strategy into their work. This will include the establishment of a task & finish group to consider the best way OD&PL and others can work together to highlight, and then embed, consideration of an internationalised curriculum in the support around academic practice that OD&PL provide
  • Providing feedback and guidance on ‘The Mary Morris International Student Transitions Guide’
  • Working with the International Student Office to connect my project recommendations with their work
  • Working with colleagues in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies to develop a University wide ‘Language Policy’
  • Invited to present a summary of the project to the joint Pro-Dean for Student Education and International meeting
  • Developing a strategy for university wide embedded Insessional language provision. Take-up so far in the Schools of Media & Communication; Performance & Cultural Industries; Education; Fine Arts, History of Art and Cultures; Design; Sociology and Social Policy
  • Impact on further development of content-based pre-sessional programmes through heightened awareness across campus
  • Closer collaboration between Skills@Library and the Language Centre to ensure better connection of provision and collaborative development of workshops to support all


  • OD&PL departmental meeting, February 2018. Ran a workshop on the implications of my project for professional development and academic practice
  • University Academic Fellows ‘Teaching Excellence’ Event; invited to speak about my project findings, February 2017
  • Student Education Conference; January 2018: ‘International students and a language connected curriculum’
  • School of Music staff meeting, January 2017. Invited to run a session on supporting international students
  • Faculty of Biological Sciences, October 2017. Invited to run a workshop with Jim Baxter (OD&PL) on personal tutoring and international students
  • School of Performance and Cultural Industries staff meeting, September 2017. Invited to run a session on supporting international students


  • Centre for Excellence in Language Teaching forum, invited speaker November 2017
  • ‘The Language Scholar’ launch, invited speaker May 2017
  • Leeds Enhancing Educational Practice (LEEP) network for Student Engagement, November 2016, invited speaker 

Further scholarship collaborations

  • Planning is taking place around further investigation and development of tailored, internationalised teaching in the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM) and the Leeds Institute for Medical Education (LIME).

External impact and dissemination


  • Bond, B. (2017) ‘Co-constructing the curriculum through Exploratory Practice’ The Language Scholar; the University of Leeds
  • Accepted book proposal for Multilingual Matters. Deadline for submission June 2019


  • ‘We just talk in Chinese because we’re all Chinese people’ BALEAP PIM Intercultural Communication and EAP; Nottingham Trent University; November 2017
  • ‘Understanding the intersection of language, disciplinary knowledge communication and identity’; Faces of English Conference, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong, June 2017
  • ‘The transforming/ transformational EAP practitioner: establishing identity and exercising agency’ A colloquium with Ian Bruce, Alex Ding, Melinda Whong; Faces of English Conference, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong, June 2017
  • ‘Co-constructing the curriculum: a collaborative approach to language teacher development’ AERA Conference (symposium with Assya Slimani-Rolls, Judith Hanks & Anna Constantino); University of Austin, Texas, April 2017
  • ‘A Combined Offer: Collaborative development through a combined offer pre-sessional programme’ BALEAP Conference, with Melinda Whong; University of Bristol, April 2017
  • ‘Communication & the Performance of Identity’ BALEAP PIM, with Peter Matthews; University of Glasgow, November 2016 

CPD symposium

  • ‘Healthy Disruption: innovations in language teaching’ with Alex Ding & Melinda Whong; University of Fudan, China, June 2017

External Recognition

  • Collaboration with colleagues at the Werklund School of Education; University of Calgary. Planning underway
  • Represented BERA at AERA 2017 with Assya Slimani-Rolls, Judith Hanks & Anna Constantino. Included joint scholarship funding of £2500