As a recent hearing aid user, I am particularly interested in listening comprehension, and, specifically, the relationship between input and perception. My first research project was conducted whilst I was teaching A level languages as a small-scale Action Enquiry into approaches to improving listening comprehension scores of A level French students (see Harper, F (2002) 'Module to develop learner autonomy in listening comprehension', Francophonie, ALL, Autumn 2002, 0957-1744). Although I have not pursued any further projects, I am particularly keen to work with people in the field of listening.
Whilst working in FE, I was involved in two European Co-operation Programmes, the second of which focused on the impact of first foreign language teaching on second foreign language learning. To inform the design of suitable teaching materials, my colleague and I conducted practitioner research into using parallel texts combined with reflective learning to facilitate access to further languages (see Harper, F and Hamer, M, Language Learning Journal, ALL, Winter 2006, 34:14-24).
Apart from my language-related interests, I am fascinated by the concept of 'choice', and have conducted two pieces of research in this field. The first investigated the choices made by students in Year 11 with regard to their post-16 education and the second the choices made concerning post-A level destinations by Year 12/13 (sixth form) students who had no prior experience of HE in their family .
Another of my interests is the effect of anxiety on oral performance, and, specifically, the impact of a perfectionist personality on the ability to speak without fear of "failure". This year, I am working with Annette Duensing, from the Department of Languages, on a pilot project to investigate the inhibitors and motivators which affect whether an orally anxious student attends the final oral assessment of an Open University language course.
I began my teaching career teaching modern lanaguages in a comprehensive school and later moved on to FE, where I taught a mixture of EFL, modern languages and teacher training quailifications to students from 16 to 85+. During my time there, I moved from managing the language programme to managing the curricular aspects of the Sixth Form College and, in my last year, became manager of Adult Community Education in North Somerset, which offered courses ranging from Reiki to Accounts to Cooking with a Wok.
Since joining the Open University, I have taught French at the residential school in Caen, written units for the revised L130 Auftakt: Get ahead in German course and contributed to the workings of the course team for L(ZX)194 Beginners' Spanish.
|Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)||Centre||Faculty of Education and Language Studies|