Dr Karen Forbes


College position:

Director of Studies in Education (Year 1 Education, Policy and Int. Development and Year 1 & 2 Education, Psychology and Learning)

Dr Karen Forbes
Dr Karen Forbes

Karen is a Fellow at Homerton and a Director of Studies in Education with particular responsibility for students in their first and second years on the ‘Education, Psychology and Learning ‘track and the ‘Education, Policy and International Development’ track. She is also a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education where she teaches on a wide range of courses. She coordinates the first-year undergraduate paper in Language, Communication and Literacy and at Masters level she teaches on the Research in Second Language Education and coordinates the Research Methods training for some of the part-time MEd students.

She also supervises a number of doctoral students. Her current research interests include the development and transfer of language learning strategies, the teaching and learning of English as an additional language in UK schools, and topics related to multilingualism and identity. Between 2016-2020 she was a researcher on the Education strand of a large AHRC-funded project on multilingualism which explored the influence of multilingual identity on foreign language learning which led to the development of a series of free, research-informed resources for teachers (see wamcam.org).

Research Interests

Language learning strategies

English as an additional language in schools


Multilingual identity and foreign language learning

School language education

Teaching And Professional Interests

Education Tripos (Part 1A Language, Communication and Literacies paper coordinator and Part II Research and Investigation project supervisor)

PGCE in Modern Languages

MPhil/MEd Research in Second Language Education

MPhil/MEd Education Research Methods

PhD/EdD supervision

Links to online publications, articles or other work

Forbes, K. (2020). Cross-linguistic transfer of writing strategies: Interactions between foreign language and first language classrooms. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Evans, M., Schneider, C., Arnot, M., Fisher, L., Forbes, K., Liu, Y. & Welply, O. (2020). Language development, social integration and academic achievement of EAL students. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Fisher, L., Evans, M., Forbes, K., Gayton, A., Liu, Y. (2020). Participative multilingual identity construction in the languages classroom: A multi-theoretical conceptualisation. International Journaof Multilingualism 17(4), 448-466. DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2018.1524896 

Li, J., McLellan, R. & Forbes, K. (2020). Investigating EFL teachers’ gender-stereotypical beliefs about learners: a mixed-methods study. Cambridge Journal of Education (advance online). DOI: 10.1080/0305764X.2020.1772720

Forbes, K. & Fisher, L. (2020). Strategy development and cross-linguistic transfer in foreign and first language writing. Applied Linguistics Review, 11(2), 311-339. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2018-0008

Luo, J. & Forbes, K. (2019). ‘It’s a plus rather than a must’: Perspectives of mainstream teachers in China on the influence of advertised educational ethos in supplementary English education. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2019.1681937

Forbes, K. (2019). The role of individual differences in the development and transfer of writing strategies between foreign and first language classrooms. Research Papers in Education, 34(4), 445-464. DOI: 10.1080/02671522.2018.1452963

Forbes, K. (2019). Teaching for transfer between first and foreign language classroom contexts: Developing a framework for a strategy-based, cross-curricular approach to writing pedagogy. Writing & Pedagogy, 11(1), 101-126. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.34601

Evans, M., Fisher, L., Forbes, K., Liu, Y. (2019). The form and functions of newcomer EAL pupils' speech in English: patterns of progression and communication in semi-structured interview dialogue. Language and Education, 33(1), 18-34. DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2018.1445756

Forbes, K. (2018). "In German I have to think about it more than I do in English": The foreign language classroom as a key context for developing transferable metacognitive writing strategies. In Å. Haukås, C. Bjørke & M. Dypedahl (Eds.), Metacognition in Language Learning and Teaching. Routledge.

Forbes, K. (2018). Exploring first year undergraduate students’ conceptualisations of critical thinking skills. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(3), 433-442.

Forbes, K. and Fisher, L. (2018). The impact of expanding advanced level secondary school students' awareness and use of metacognitive learning strategies on confidence and proficiency in foreign language speaking skills. The Language Learning Journal, 46(2), 173-185. DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2015.1010448

Liu, Y., Fisher, L., Forbes, K. & Evans, M. (2017). The knowledge base of teaching in linguistically diverse contexts: 10 grounded principles of multilingual classroom pedagogy for EAL. Language and Intercultural Communication, 17(4), 378-395. DOI: 10.1080/14708477.2017.1368136   

Evans, M., Schneider, C., Arnot, M., Fisher, L., Forbes, K., Hu, M. & Liu, Y. (2016). Language development and school achievement: opportunities and challenges in the education of EAL students. Cambridge: Bell Foundation 


Faculty of Education