Dr Sabine Little, BMus, PGCE, PCHE, CiLT, Med, MA, PhD, SFHEA

Photograph of Sabine LittleDeputy Director of Learning and Teaching
Lecturer in Educational Studies (Languages Education)
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Director, MA Education, Teaching and Learning
Director, iPGCE
Faculty of Social Sciences Student Engagement Advisory Fellow

Orcid id: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9902-0217

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8089
Email: s.little@sheffield.ac.uk
Twitter: @sabinelittle




Following my early career as a language teacher (German and French) in secondary school, I have taught across many of the programmes within the School of Education, ranging from the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood to the PGCE and iPGCE, multiple MA Programmes, including the Caribbean and Malta Programmes, and the EdD programme. I enjoy working with students across all levels of study, and I gain particular pleasure from facilitating students to follow their interests - luckily, most programmes in the School of Education are designed to encourage the focus on emerging interests, and I think it is a privilege to work with students as they discover an aspect of education they feel strongly about and wish to pursue further. I direct the iPGCE and the MA Applied Professional Studies in Education (online), both of which attract students working in international contexts.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and have an over-arching Faculty role, where I work with students across the Social Sciences to explore issues related to learning and teaching, a role which continues my work from a previous role, as Learning Development and Research Fellow for Networked Learning at the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS), a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, where I developed and co-facilitated (with a student) the highly acclaimed Student Ambassador Network, consisting of students and academic staff collaborating in order to develop and improve high quality learning and teaching experiences at all levels within the institution.



I have a number of research interests, which are multi-faceted and overlapping.

My main and over-arching research interest is in the field of heritage language learners and identity - I am interested how families who speak multiple languages in the home navigate these languages, and what this means for individual family members' sense of identity and well-being. Language is an integral part of identity, but is a very personal experience, even within the same family, so my work focuses on helping families and policy-makers understand issues and pressures faced by heritage language families, and to develop holistic support opportunities.

I have been involved in numerous projects, attracting funding from ERASMUS, the UK Literacy Association, Booktrust, JISC, the Society for Educational Studies, etc. I regularly lead public engagement events, sharing my research with the wider public, particularly teachers, families and children. Research should belong to the researched, and the opportunities to feed back to participant communities and engage with those interested in research outcomes are particularly important to me. I recently completed a research project funded by the UK Literacy Association, where she worked with heritage language families to explore how they use technology to support the heritage language. The results of the study are currently being disseminated locally, nationally and internationally.

Other aspects of my research are directly linked to my teaching, particularly looking into online learning and teacher professional development in international contexts.

In summer 2016, I was part of a successful ERASMUS bid. Together with colleagues from Germany, Spain, Ireland and Luxembourg, I am working on a project that focuses on helping children from immigrant and refugee families, by giving teachers a platform to exchange ideas and develop their skills of teaching reading in multicultural, plurilingual, and diverse classrooms.



Click here for Journal Articles


Little, S (ed.) (2011) Staff-Student Partnerships in Higher Education. London: Continuum

Journal Articles

Little, S. (2017) 'Whose heritage? What inheritance?: Conceptualising Family Language Identities'. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2017.1348463

Little, S. and Al-Wahaibi, S. (2017): ''We Are Not As They Think About Us': Exploring Omani EFL Learners' 'Selves' in Digital Social Spaces'. Multicultural Education Review. DOI: 10.1080/2005615X.2017.1346557

Little, S. (2017) 'A generational arc: early literacy practices among Pakistani and Indian heritage language families’. International Journal of Early Years Education, DOI: 10.1080/09669760.2017.1341302

Little, S. (2016) Promoting a collective conscience: designing a resilient staff–student partnership model for educational development, in International Journal for Academic Development, 21:4, 273-285, DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2016.1209505

Nutbrown, C., Clough, P., Levy, R., Little, S., Lamb, T., and Yamada-Rice, D., (2016) 'Families’ roles in children’s literacy in the UK throughout the 20th century', in Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. DOI: 10.1177/1468798416645385

Levy, P., Aiyegbayo, O. and Little, S. (2009) ‘Designing for inquiry-based learning with the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS)’, in Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning, 25 (3): 238-250.

McKinney, P., Little, S. and Wood, J. (2009) ‘A learning development team: Three developers, one pedagogy’, in Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 1: 2-16.

Little, S. (2008) ‘Inquiry-based learning and technology – supporting institutional TEL within one pedagogical context’, in M McPherson and A Whitworth (eds): British Journal of Educational Technology. Special Issue: Best Practice or Situated Action: The Organization of Technology Enhanced Learning. London: Blackwell

Book chapters

Lamb, T. and Little, S. (2016): Assessment for Autonomy, Assessment for Learning, and Learner Motivation: Fostering Learner Identities. In D. Tsagari (ed) Classroom-based Assessment in L2 Contexts. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press (pp. 184-206)

Little, S. (2008) ‘Oily Rag or Winged Messenger: The role of the developer in multi-professional teams’, in R Donnelly and F McSweeney (eds): Applied E-Learning and E-Teaching in Higher Education. Hershey, PA: IGI Publishing

Little, S. (2008): ‘Linking collaboration to learner autonomy: peer cognizance in action’, in M Jiménez Raya and T
Lamb (eds): Pedagogy for autonomy in modern languages education: theory, practice, and teacher education. Dublin: Authentik

Little, S. (2008) ‘Supporting a dispersed community: CoP development in the Caribbean’ in C Kimble and P Hildreth (eds) Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators (Volume 2). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing: 105-124


Little, S. (2008) ‘The role of the developer in institutional change: Tales from the edge’, Networked Learning Conference, Halkidiki, Greece

Research Briefings

Little, S. (2012) What are the attributes and practices of motivational teachers? Research Briefing, Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF). Sheffield: University of Sheffield / Sheffield Hallam University



• Referee for multiple academic journals, including "Innovation in Learning and Teaching", "Journal of Early Childhood Research", "Language Matters", "International Journal of Educational Research" and others
• Consultant for ELINET (European Literacy Policy Network) – advising on final project outputs
• Membership of Research Networks: “Social and Affective Factors in Home Language Maintenance and Development” and "Learner Autonomy"
• Invited expert reviewer for Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)