Nord Research Group for Children’s Literature in English Language Teaching (CLELT)

The Nord Research Group for Children’s Literature in ELT aims to deepen interdisciplinary and international connections for children’s literature in language teaching. The group's projects embrace children’s literature, education and English Language Teaching (ELT) research.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The research group is a part of the research division
Teacher Education

Our projects embrace children’s literature, education and English Language Teaching (ELT) research. Empowered language learners need a rich learning environment that promotes challenging reading, cognitive engagement and mental flexibility. The research group aims to deepen interdisciplinary and international connections for children’s literature in language teaching, and is the forum for the open access journal Children’s Literature in English Language Education (CLELEjournal)  which is edited at Nord University.

More about the research group

The projects in this research group are positioned as dialogue between
·      children’s literature educational research (litteraturdidaktikk),
·      applied linguistics,
·      language education psychology
·      English subject pedagogy (engelsk fagdidaktikk).

The Nord Research Group for Children’s Literature in ELT (CLELT) aims to develop and strengthen teacher education for English Language Teaching (ELT) as a fruitful combination of these four informing disciplines. Empowered language learners need a rich learning environment that promotes challenging reading, cognitive engagement and mental flexibility. Twenty-first century formats of children’s literature relevant for language education with 6–16-year-olds are frequently multimodal, which may be image-mediated (e.g. picturebooks, graphic novels), action-mediated (e.g. drama) or oral-aural (e.g. oral storytelling and performance poetry). Thus, the concept of ‘texts’ becomes ever more inclusive, as also stipulated by the new Norwegian Læreplan i engelsk (2020).

The research group aims to deepen both interdisciplinary and international connections for children’s literature in language teaching, and is the forum for the open access, peer-reviewed journal Children’s Literature in English Language Education, which is edited at Nord University, and sponsored by research group funds. The CLELEjournal editorial team is led by two members of the Nord Research Group for Children’s Literature in ELT: Editor-in-chief Janice Bland and Reviews Editor David Valente.

Educational activities

All projects in the CLELT research group are linked to educational activities. The NOTED and ERASMUS+ projects are anchored in pre-service and in-service teacher education: each year these projects will fund international student teacher exchanges. The innovative aspect of the NOTED project is to guide and enlist the support of dynamic student teachers together with their mentor teachers to strengthen the quality of English teaching and learning, in primary and secondary school (grades 1–10). The ERASMUS + project will prepare and deliver in-service teacher development of 1–7 teachers of English in five​ different European countries. 

The Children’s Literature in English Language Education journal is dedicated to research in using children’s literature in English language educational settings.

Active Research Projects

English Language and Literature – In-depth Learning (ELLiL)

The project is led by Janice Bland, Nord University

Project funding granted for 2020-2024​.


The aim of the four-year NOTED project is to establish outstanding cooperation on English language and literature learning in teacher education programmes in the Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University, Norway, and the School of Education, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada. Despite the ubiquity of English in the environment of these countries, the educational focus of English for in-depth learning needs to be strengthened. The project intends to develop the study of English as a window of opportunity for creative language and literature education – deep reading for in-depth learning – and to achieve a steadfast development towards an international orientation in the subject.

Project partners: 
Sunny Man Chu Lau, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
Nayr Ibrahim, Nord University
David Valente, Nord University
Corinne Haigh, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
Wendy King, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
Dr Miles Turnbull, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada

Project partner representing internationalization: Charlotta Maria Langejan, Nord University

Financial administrator: Janne Marit Vist, Nord University

Children's Literature in English Language Education Journal

Editor-in-chief: Janice Bland, Nord University.

Project commenced in 2013, open-ended.
Sponsored by the Faculty of Education and Arts, Nord University and University of Vienna, Austria.

The CLELE journal is a no-fee peer-reviewed open access biannual journal. The journal aims to achieve ever more impact in research and in the wider community. The editorial board is made up of 30 peer reviewers from five continents. 

Articles have been published from over 25 different countries. The topics have encompassed:
visual literacy
critical literacy
interculturality and ideology issues
reader-response theory
literary language play and children’s creative writing
teacher education, methodologies and materials design
inclusion and diversity issues, such as racism and ethnicity, disability, age, gender and sexual orientation, religion and belief

The most commonly discussed literary format is the picturebook, followed by young adult literature, poetry, graphic novels, drama, chapter books, verse novels, films and storyapps.

Project partners: 
Susanne Reichl, University of Vienna, Austria
David Valente, Nord University, Norway
Ina Batzke, Augsburg University, Germany
Joel Guttke, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Bill Templer, independent researcher, Bulgaria
Journal website:

Intercultural Citizenship Education through Picturebooks in early English Language Learning (ICEPELL)

The project is led by Sandie Mourão, NOVA University Lisbon, Portugal.

Project funding granted for 2020-2022.

The main aim of this three-year ERASMUS + project, which focuses on innovation in the Higher Education and School Education Sectors, is to strengthen the profile of the teaching profession through the development of practitioner competencies to confidently integrate intercultural citizenship education (ICE) into early EFL education. The target group is the school community – practitioners (teachers of English, teacher librarians, student teachers), children aged 5 to 12 years, and teacher educators.

Project partners: 
Janice Bland, Nord University
Nayr Ibrahim, Nord Universitylocal project manager
David Valente, Nord University
Tatia Gruenbaum, Avans University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
Carmen Becker, Braunschweig University, Germany
Project partner representing University Schools: Hege Elisabeth Edvardsen, Nord University
Financial administrator: Janne Marit Vist, Nord University

Associated partners: 


Funded by Nord University and Dekom (decentralized competence development scheme).

CyberBridge is a fusion of innovative iOS technology and educational techniques utilizing readily available, low cost production methods distributed through social media in order to create daily, accessible content for grade 1-10 teachers: Our 3 to 5-minute YouTube and Facebook episodes include songs, rhymes and games; grammar; ways to use literature in the classroom; and English across the curriculum.

This project is cross-campus, cross generational, cross-curricular as well as a two-way collaboration between schools and the university. The primary objective of this project is that digital learning goes both ways, and teachers and students actively contribute their ideas to fulfill the project’s mission statement that ‘you are never too old to learn, and never too young to teach’.

Project partners: 
Heidi Haavan Grosch, program host, Nord University
Steven Williams, program host, Nord University
Greg Curda, technical consultant, Nord University
Camtimul, student-run technical crew

CyberBridge YouTube-channel

EMPART pilot project

The EMPART pilot project (= Empowered participation in teaching practice) is funded by såkornmidler 2021–22. The project involves trilateral cooperation (Trekantsamarbeid) between the university school, Bankgata Ungdomsskole, Nord University Faculty of Education and Arts, and second year MAGLU student teachers with English specialization. 

The focus of the project is to create and trial a window for reciprocal preparation, mentoring, supervision, and discussion of students’ teaching practice that involves the different stakeholders – school mentoring teachers, university supervisor and student teachers (and ultimately also the school students).

Project partners: 
Janice Bland, Nord University
Ruta Andreassen, Bankgata skole 
​Remi Antonsen, Bankgata skole
Katrine Lekang Eiterjord, Bankgata skole ​​​


The ELLRA international network is currently being established by a transitional committee, including two members of the Nord CLELT Research Group: Nayr Ibrahim and David Valente. 

ELLRA, the Early Language Learning Research Association, is an international network with 120 members in 93 universities that developed from the AILA ELLReN, first launched in 2015 to raise the profile of research in early language learning (focused on learners aged 3–12 years). 

ELLRA’s goal is to contribute to the growth of national and regional research groups and to stimulate new research on a range of themes in the field. ELLRA’s principal aims are: 
  • to create synergies across research areas concerned with young children learning additional languages in school and pre-school contexts worldwide;
  • to encourage a comprehensive agenda for research in the field of early language learning. 
The ELLRA Board of Directors includes the following members: 

​Sandie Mourão 
​Nova University Lisbon
​Joanna Rokita Jaśkow 
​Cracow University
​Sviatlana Karpava 
​University of Cyprus
​Nayr Ibrahim 
​Nord University
​Membership Officer
​Melanie Ellis
​Silesian University of Technology
​Communications Director 
​David Valente
​Nord University
​Board member BD 1 
​He Sun
​Nanyang Technological University
​Board member BD 2 
​Yan Zhu 
​Fudan University
​Board member BD 3 
​Maria-Jesus Inostroza
​University of Concepcion
​Chile ​

​PhD Projects

Facilitating spontaneous oral communication through improvisation activities in the English classroom 

Research fellow: Anke Zondag

This project investigates the potential of applying drama-based methods for English spontaneous speech practice. 

Anke Zondag examines the influence of improvisation activities on the speaking confidence of EFL student teachers. After reflecting on their own improvisation experience at university level, student teachers tried out some improvisation activities in their school practice. The student teachers’ experiences in the university classroom and school practicum are studied for patterns. 

Throughout the project, the phenomenon reluctant speaker is given special attention.​

Picturebooks for in-depth intercultural citizenship learning within English subject pedagogy​​

Research fellow: David Valente

This PhD research project investigates the significance of picturebooks within English subject pedagogy for catalysing in-depth intercultural citizenship learning in school grades 1-7. The overarching research question is: How can embedding picturebooks within English subject pedagogy help to foster in-depth intercultural citizenship learning? The three articles connected to this project will explore the following research questions, which aim to collectively address the overarching question:

How can English subject pedagogy position picturebooks as intercultural scaffolds to support teachers’ pedagogical materials creation? (article 1)

What role does the skilful mediation of picturebooks play in the primary English classroom for developing children’s in-depth intercultural citizenship learning? (article 2)

How may primary English teachers’ competence in fostering in-depth intercultural citizenship learning through picturebooks be enhanced by tutor-input, peer interaction and tutor-led mentoring? (article 3)

The project focuses on the exploration of picturebooks with intercultural citizenship themes in primary English teacher education programmes in three national mainstream school contexts - Norway, Portugal, and Italy. These are linked by an Erasmus+ project which fuses picturebooks in primary English language teaching with intercultural citizenship education and further promotes the wider goal of in-depth learning. 

 Research Group Leader


​Associated members:

Nicola Daly, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Gail Ellis, British Council Paris, Co-founder Picturebooks in European Primary English Language Teaching

Jena Habegger-Conti, Associate Professor of English, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Emilia, Luukka, PhD fellow, Tampere University, Finland

Dolores Miralles-Alberola, Lecturer, Facultad de Educación, University of Alicante, Spain

Anita Aune Nestvold, teacher, Mosjøen upper secondary school, Process and network manager DEKOM​

Sissil Lea Heggernes, Associate Professor​, OsloMet​

Jennifer Duggan, Associate Professor of English,
University of South-Eastern Norway

Malin Lidström Brock, Senior Lecturer,
Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Marie Wallin, Senior Lecturer, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Christine Biebricher, Senior Lecturer, The University of Auckland, New Zealand