Welcome to the ESERA SIG Languages & Literacies in Science Education!

About this SIG

This Special Interest Group serves as an international network linking researchers with an interest on how the languages of science (including non-verbal representations), and their associated literacies, afford, mediate, support or hinder science teaching and learning. The idea for this SIG was initiated following several symposia held during ESERA 2017 at Dublin and a follow up symposium at Stockholm on ‘Future Directions for Literacy Research in Science Education’ on 28 & 29 August 2017. Approved by the ESERA Board in March 2018, the SIG is open for all ESERA members to join and participate. 

Reflecting a contemporary view of languages and literacies in the plural, the SIG examines 3 broad areas of research on language issues within science education: (a) the languages of students’ cultures and communities, including their local vernaculars, standardized national languages, and everyday terms and registers, (b) the languages of specific disciplines that have unique ontological, epistemological, linguistic and pedagogical characteristics and (c) the languages of multimodal representations consisting of speech, written words, images, symbols, graphs and gestures that are essential to scientific meaning making. Each of these cultural, disciplinary and representational languages requires a different set of literacy skills and instructions in order for students to become successful in science. As these 3 areas of language and literacy are overlapping and intertwined, there is an increasing convergence among researchers working together in this common space, which therefore calls for the necessity of this SIG.

Our Aims & Scope

The aims of the SIG are to:

  1. Establish and maintain a network of researchers in Europe and beyond with an interest in languages and literacies in science education
  2. Facilitate contact and collaboration among researchers working across institutions, countries and disciplinary areas
  3. Disseminate and discuss research findings and ongoing research through regular meetings and communications
  4. Disseminate and coordinate invitations and calls to joint symposia, seminars, conferences, special issues or book projects
  5. Support new and early researchers with a community of established and experienced scholars

The SIG is open to a range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies drawing from cognitive, linguistic, semiotic, sociocultural, anthropological, and pragmatist traditions. Besides science education researchers, the SIG includes and welcomes researchers from language and literacy education, applied linguistics and the learning sciences. The range of topics explored in the SIG includes, but is not limited to, the language of science, classroom discourse, representation, multimodality, disciplinary literacy, content and language integrated learning (CLIL), bi/multilingualism, reading/writing-to-learn, academic language, visual literacy, text/discourse analysis.

SIG Coordinators

Magdalena Kersting, University of Copenhagen

Magdalena KerstingMagdalena is a tenure-track assistant professor in science education at the Department of Science Education at the University of Copenhagen. Magdalena holds a PhD in Physics Education from the University of Oslo, an MSc in Mathematics and BSc’s in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Göttingen, and a Diploma in Public Relations from Freie Journalistenschule Berlin. In her research, Magdalena studies how learners experience abstract knowledge in digital and virtual learning environments in formal and informal learning contexts. She has a particular interest in embodied cognition and technology-enhanced science education. Together with the Education and Public Outreach team of OzGrav, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, Magdalena studies the benefits of using virtual reality in science education. Previously, Magdalena developed a digital learning environment about Einstein’s general theory of relativity in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Science Education.


Kok-Sing Tang, Curtin University

asKok-Sing is an Associate Professor at the School of Education and the discipline lead of the STEM Education Research Group at Curtin University. He holds a BA and MSc in Physics from the University of Cambridge and a MA and PhD in Education from the University of Michigan. His research focus on the disciplinary language and literacy of science, particularly in upper secondary physics and chemistry. His research also intersects with studies of classroom discourse and multimodality as he draws on semiotic and sociocultural theories to examine the conditions of classroom practices that promote or hinder science learning. He is an editorial board member of Science Education and Learning: Research & Practice. Kok-Sing will be coordinating the SIG until 2024.

Founding Members


Founding Members of the SIG at the Stockholm Symposium on ‘Future Directions for Literacy Research in Science Education’

Founding Coordinators

Kok-Sing Tang, Curtin University
Kristina Danielsson, Linnaeus University

Founding Members

Name Institution & Country
1 Airey, John Stockholm University, Sweden
2 Amaral, Edenia Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil
3 Amin, Tamer American University of Beirut, Lebanon
4 Axelsson, Monica Stockholm University, Sweden
5 Berg, Astrid Linköping University, Sweden
6 Bergh Nestlog, Ewa Linnaeus University, Sweden
7 BouJaoude, Saouma American University of Beirut, Lebanon
8 Cavalcanti Neto, Ana Lucia Secretary of Education in Escada, Brazil
9 Danielsson, Kristina Linnaeus University, Sweden
10 Espinet, Mariona Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
11 Forey,  Gail Bath University, UK
12 Fredlund, Tobias University of Oslo, Norway
13 Ge,  Yun-Ping National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan
14 Hand,  Brian University of Iowa, USA
15 He, Peichang The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
16 Ho,  Caroline Ministry of Education, Singapore
17 Hubber, Peter Deakin University, Australia
18 Hultén, Magnus Linköping University, Sweden
19 Jakobsson, Anders Malmö University, Sweden
20 Jeppsson, Fredrik Linköping University, Sweden
21 Knain, Erik University of Oslo, Norway
22 Lai, Haiwen Karen The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
23 Larsson, Johanna Uppsala University, Sweden
24 Lin, Angel Simon Fraser University, Canada
25 Liu, Yu Sichuan International Studies University, China
26 Lo, Yuen Yi The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
27 Löfgren, Ragnhild Linköping University, Sweden
28 Markic, Silvija University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany
29 Martin, Sonya Seoul National University, Korea
30 Martins, Isabel Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
31 McClune, William Queen’s University Belfast, UK
32 McDermott, Mark University of Iowa, USA
33 Moje, Elizabeth University of Michigan, USA
34 Mork, Sonja Norwegian Centre for Science Education, Norway
35 Mortimer, Eduardo Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
36 Msimanga, Audrey University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
37 Olander, Clas Malmö University, Sweden
38 Osborne, Jonathan Stanford University, USA
39 Ødegaard, Marianne University of Oslo, Norway
40 Pettersson, Alma Linköping University, Sweden
41 Prain, Vaughan Deakin University, Australia
42 Rappa, Natasha Murdoch University, Australia
43 Rundgren, Carl-Johan Stockholm University, Sweden
44 Seah, Lay Hoon Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
45 Siry, Christina University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
46 Tang, Kok-Sing Curtin University, Australia
47 Tippett, Christine University of Ottawa, Canada
48 Toth, Jeanette Stockholm University, Sweden
49 Tytler, Russell Deakin University, Australia
50 Uddling, Jenny Stockholm University, Sweden
51 Unsworth,  Len Australian Catholic University, Australia
52 Yore, Larry University of Victoria, Canada