Abigail Parrish

School of Education

Lecturer in Languages Education

Deputy Director of MA Education Programme

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+44 114 222 8113

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Abigail Parrish
School of Education
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Following an undergraduate degree in Modern European Studies, I trained as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher at the University of Sheffield. I went on to undertake an MA at Sheffield alongside teaching full-time in Lincolnshire, followed by a PhD in Education at the University of York. 

My PhD focused on choice and motivation in Modern Foreign Languages education in schools in England, and I continue to research in this area. Before coming to Sheffield, I worked at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln where my teaching focused on education policy, language policy and research methods.

Research interests

I am interested in motivation to learn a language, particularly in schools, and how this links to factors such as choice, multilingualism and socio-economic status. I use self-determination theory in my work, which is a broad theory of motivation and wellness grounded in psychology. 

I would be interested to hear from prospective research students interested in language learning motivation, self-determination theory, school-level language learning or language policy, multilingualism in schools and related topics.


Journal articles


  • Scally J, Parrish A & Ayudhaya PDN (2022) Power Imbalances Inequality in International Exchange in the UK and Thailand, CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON EQUITY AND SOCIAL MOBILITY IN STUDY ABROAD (pp. 13-26). RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

My teaching focuses on language education and general education topics. I am interested in all aspects of education and language policy and the teaching of research methods.

Professional activities and memberships

I lead the self-determination theory special interest group of the International Association for Language Learning.