Dr Abigail Parrish
Senior Lecturer (Secondary)
School of Teacher Development

After a first degree in Modern European Studies from the University of Nottingham, Abigail trained as a modern foreign languages teacher at the University of Sheffield, where she also completed an MA in Applied Professional Studies in Education. Abigail taught French, German, Dutch, English and history at schools in North East Lincolnshire before completing a PhD in Education at the University of York. She has previously taught at undergraduate level and contributed to university Widening Participation schemes.

Abigail’s doctoral work had two strands, the first looking at student motivation in GCSE language lessons, using Self-Determination Theory, and considering this in the light of student choice. The second strand investigated staff decision-making around the languages taught in schools. She has presented her work at national and international conferences, to both academic and practitioner audiences. She has also contributed to research into teacher engagement with research, the use of a computer game in primary French lessons and the impact of undergraduate mentoring programmes in secondary schools, and investigated the teaching of Dutch at secondary level.


Abigail teaches on the Secondary PGCE course, the MA in Education and the MA in Education with TESOL. She is also responsible for the Assessment-only route to QTS.


Abigail’s main research interests lie in student motivation and subject choice. She is also interested in teacher engagement with research and the development of evidence-based education.

Conference presentations

2017 Connecting the dots between head teachers’ language skills, choice and student motivation in modern foreign languages. BERA national conference, Brighton

2017 Should you offer students a choice? Motivation and decision-making in GCSE language study. ResearchED English & MFL conference, Oxford

2016 Languages in schools: The student view. UK language policy after Brexit conference, Sheffield Hallam University

2015 Everyone speaks English anyway: Motivation & learning languages in the English-speaking world. ALAA / ALANZ / ALTAANZ Linguistics Conference, University of South Australia

2015 Everyone speaks English anyway: Motivation & learning languages in the English-speaking world. Languages, Education & Diversity conference, University of Auckland

2015 Foreign language provision and learners’ attitudes in UK schools. The Politics of Teaching & Learning Languages conference, UCL

2015 Do students who have a choice demonstrate higher levels of motivation? ResearchED national conference, London

2014 From Dutch to Diversification. Research students’ education conference, University of Leeds

2012 You as Teacher-Researcher. Invited presentation to MA Applied Professional Studies in Education students, University of Sheffield


Parrish, A. & Lanvers, U. (2017, June 29). Let’s use Brexit to stop linguistic complacency. i newspaper.

Parrish, A. & Lanvers, U. (2017). Why just speaking English isn’t going to cut it anymore. The Conversation.

Parrish, A. & Taylor, F. (2014). Beyond the big three: French, German and Spanish aren’t the only languages that matter. The Conversation.

Parrish, A. (2012). Shall we go Dutch? Deutsch Lehren und Lernen, 45, pp. 13-15.

Parrish, A. (2012). Au revoir, le français ? TES, Friday, February 24 2012, p. 47

Parrish, A. (2011). Dutch for Experts. Languages Today, 08, p. 11.

Parrish, A. (2011). Double Dutch on the Curriculum. Languages Today, 08, p. 30.