Anna Kaal is passionate about language and education and combines the best of both worlds in her work as teacher educator and researcher at the VU. She works with pre-service and in-service teachers to translate knowledge about language and language learning to their (foreign) language classrooms. An essential theme in her work is the notion ‘language awareness’, which can perhaps best be described as ‘looking at the world through linguistic glasses’ – which knowledge about language do we all need in order to think critically about, but also enjoy, the language we use?
Anna studied English language and culture, and specialized in linguistics and interaction, at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (MA). With an interest in both the English language as well as communication, she also obtained a BA in Communication and Information Sciences. She continued with a PhD in cognitive linguistics, which centered on the use of metaphor in everyday discourse (specifically conversations). While finishing her PhD (in 2012), she trained to become a teacher in secondary education (Educational MA). She taught at Tabor College Hoorn for 4 years as a teacher of English before returning to the VU as a teacher educator. Here she obtained her BKO (basic teaching qualification in higher education).
At the moment Anna is co-supervising a PLC (Professional Learning Community), in which language teachers are creating and are experimenting with new material based on input from linguistics (metaphor, historical linguistics, language variation, etc.). She is also supervising two PhDs in language education: about the use of target language in the foreign language classroom (Sebastiaan Dönszelmann) and about reading motivation and language awareness (Tineke van Putten). Her current research project concerns metaphor elicitiation in the foreign language classroom to raise young students’ language awareness.
Anna was one of the main organizers of the 2017 conference ‘Look both ways: narrative and metaphor in education’ (an edited volume stemming from this conference will be published later this year with Routledge). At the moment, she is organizing the ALA2018 conference ‘Towards Language Aware Citizenship’ which will be held at the VU from 4 to 7 July (all interested are invited!).
For Anna’s publications, click here.