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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Janice Mary Bland, leader of the research group
    Anja Synnøve Bakken
    Ingrid Hekneby Braseth
    Heidi Haavan Grosch
    Maria Nayr de Pinho Correia Ibrahim
    Åse Marie Ommundsen
    David Valente
    Anke Zondag
    Geoffrey Michael Hall
    Ruta Zabityte Andreassen

    ​Associated members:
    Nicola Daly, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato, New Zealand
    Gail Ellis, Independent Paris, Co-founder Picturebooks in European Primary English Language Teaching (PEPELT)​
    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
    Jade Dillon, Associate Professor, NTNU

Active Research Projects

  • The project is led by Janice Bland, Nord University

    Project funding granted for 2020-2024​.

    The aim of the four-year NOTED project, English Language and Literature – In-Depth Learning, is to establish outstanding cooperation 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.

    The ELLiL project pioneers a new model for teaching practice, promoting the agency and creativity of student teachers in English teaching, and learning through literature. ELLiL develops the subject of English as a window of opportunity for creative, socially relevant education. Student teachers, together with school mentor teachers and in cooperation with university teacher education, trial a Reading for in-depth learning framework the project partners have developed. ELLiL is supported by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills, HK-Dir, and the project is the inspiration and main sponsor of the Bodø 2024 international conference: Reading for in-depth English Learning: Texts in and beyond the classroom​, Nord University.

    Project partners: 
    Sunny Man Chu Lau, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
    Nayr Ibrahim, Nord UniversityDavid Valente, Nord University
    Wendy King, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
    Miles Turnbull, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
    Ruta Andreassen, Nord University
    Lindsay Tolton, Bishop’s University, Québec, Canada
    Project partner representing internationalization: Charlotta Maria Langejan, Nord University

    Financial administrator: Janne Marit Vist, Nord University

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

    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:

  • 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 University, local 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: 
    The Norwegian Centre for Arts and Culture in Education

    Stormen library

  • SFunded 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

  • 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: 

    • President: ​Sandie Mourão, ​Nova University, Lisbon, ​Portugal
    • ​Vice-presid​ent: ​Joanna Rokita Jaśkow, ​Cracow University, ​Poland
    • ​Secretary: ​Sviatlana Karpava, ​University of Cyprus​, Cyprus
    • ​Treasurer: ​Nayr Ibrahim, ​Nord University, ​Norway
    • ​Membership Officer: ​Melanie Ellis, ​Silesian University of Technology, ​Poland
    • ​Communications Director: ​David Valente, ​Nord University, ​Norway
    • ​Board member BD 1: ​He Sun, ​Nanyang Technological University, ​Singapore
    • ​Board member BD 2: ​Yan Zhu, ​Fudan University, China
    • ​Board member BD 3: ​Maria-Jesus Inostroza, University of Concepcion, ​Chile ​

PhD projects

  • 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.​

  • 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.