Elizabeth has spent much of her early career working in post-compulsory education. Her interest in language, literacy practices and sociolinguistics is rooted in her experience of teaching adult literacy in adult, community and further education (FE) settings, and her experience of managing learning support provision in two FE colleges. This interest has developed over time as a result of her involvement in higher education through teaching on the English/literacy post-compulsory teacher education programme at the University of Wolverhampton, her research in the Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, and her PhD research.
Her PhD is a critical linguistic ethnography of practitioners’ interpretations of family literacy programmes in the West Midlands. She uses a linguistic ethnographic analysis to show how practitioners’ narratives of learning and socialisation reproduce grand narratives of parenting and motherhood. She shows how this is a reflexive process with meta-narratives circulating and structuring the local interactions of practitioners. Whilst completing her PhD Elizabeth was awarded two scholarships: a Universitas 21 PhD scholarship to visit the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada; and the Educational Review Research Degree Progress Scholarship.
Elizabeth is interested in the complex relationship that exists between language and social context, whether in schools, communities or institutional settings; a relationship that spans local and trans-local contexts. She is concerned with how social identities and relations are constructed through text, talk and other semiotic resources. She is particularly interested in how the social world is mediated through interaction with written and electronic texts.