Chiara La Sala

Chiara La Sala


I graduated in 1991 from the University of Rome 'La Sapienza' with a degree in Modern Languages and Literatures (English and German). I took an MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Salford, and in 2004 completed a PhD at the University of Leeds on Minority Languages and Dialects in Modern Italy.

I was the LCS Widening Partecipation Officer in 2012-15 and the LCS Residence Abroad Coordinator IN 2014-17. I am  now the Director of Italian, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at Leeds University and the Deputy Director of the Leeds Centre for Excellence in Language Teaching.


  • Director of Italian
  • Deputy Director of the Leeds Centre for Excellence in Language Teaching

Research interests

My main research and scholarship interest are: error analysis and transfer analysis in second language acquisition; language progress in ab initio and post-A level contexts in HE; integration of CEFR in HE; digital resources to enhance language learning; minority languages and dialects in modern Italy.

I have published on error analysis and transfer analysis, new methodologies and pedagogical techniques to teach grammar, digital resources to enhance SLA during the Residence Abroad Period and the integration of CEFR in the HE assessment criteria.


‘Promoting the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages for progression in language learning’, (forthcoming, December 2018) GENTES, on-line journal of Humanities and Social Sciences,, available in the White Rose Repository, ISSN 2283-5946,

‘Enhancing written language skills during the year abroad through online independent learning’, in Using digital resources to enhance language learning – case studies in Italian, ed. by Rosalba Biasini and Anne Proudfoot, (Voillans:, 2018), pp.1-11. Republished in

‘Gruesome grammar? Maybe not?’, Language Scholar, (July 2018),; Issue 3

Errors committed by Anglophones learning Italian as a second language’, Lingua italiana. Storia, Strutture, Testi, (Roma: Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2015), pp.163-17

Online articles and resources:

Journey to becoming a teacher researcher (Blog), 10 July 2015, Higher Education Academy,

‘Introducing an Enterprise Activity as an Innovative Method in a Final-year Content Module’, paper presented to the Conference: Enhancing the Italian Studies Curriculum: Innovation and Development Conference, organised by the University of Manchester, Society for Italian Studies and Routes into Languages (Manchester, Friday 17 September 2010),

'Liaison  Interpreting as a Teaching Technique for Italian', paper presented to the fourth biennial conference for languages in higher education, jointly organised by CILT, the National Centre for Languages and the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies: 'Languages in Higher Education Conference 2008: transitions and connections' (York, 8 July 2008),

Invited conference and events papers:

Studying ab initio languages in Higher Education’, London Teachers' Conference: 4 May 2017 and Teachers' and Advisors' Conference: 20 March 2017, University of Leeds. (Using BA Italian (Beginners) at Leeds University as a case study, my session explored the ab initio pathway, the course content, study abroad options and what it is really like for students to learn a language from scratch)

‘Teaching Grammar in the new syllabus’, (Power Point presentation), ‘Teaching the new A-Level syllabus in Italian’, University of Manchester, January 2017,

Promoting the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for progression from ab initio to degree challenges, 15 January 2015, Workshop delivered in the Roundtable discussion ‘Internationalising Higher Education’, organised by the Higher Education Academy. The Power Point Presentation is available in

Becoming a Teacher-Researcher: Language@Leeds Teacher-Researcher Projects, Modern Languages Teachers Conference, University of Leeds, June 2014.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Italian Sociolinguistics (University of Leeds 2004)
  • MA in Applied Linguistics, (University of Salford 1996)
  • Laurea in Lingue e Letterature Straniere Moderne, University of Rome, 1991

Professional memberships

  • Member of the editorial board of the Leeds Language Scholar Journal
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of, Franco Cesati Editore,
  • UKPSF@ Leeds Senior Fellow
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I have taught a wide range of modules, from Level 1 to MA level and assessed student work via dissertations, essays and written and oral exams. I am committed to high-quality innovative student education and to improving the student experience, especially for language students.

I have been a personal tutor to students of all levels since 2008 (35 tutees every year).

I have been Programme Manager and then Subject Leader for Italian since 2017 and in this role I have overall oversight of the Italian degree programme. Prior to this I was Residence Abroad Coordinator for the School, sitting on the STSEC. I have also been School Widening Participation (WP) Coordinator and Italian Language Coordinator.

In 2009-10, the grant received from the White Rose Centre of Excellence in Teaching & Learning allowed me to review my final-year module ‘Minority Languages and Dialects in Italy’, leading to students carrying out a practical research activity (sociolinguistic survey via formulation of questionnaires and analysis of results) as an assessed component of the module.

As part of my project ‘Promoting the CEFR for progression from ab initio to degree challenges’, I have worked with students as partners in the process reshaping assessment and feedback procedures. The outcomes of my project, available in the VLE area of ITAL3010, the final-year core language module in Italian, are used by students and staff to evaluate formative and summative assessments.

In 2015-16, I was granted an extension of the project to develop: a model for assessing oral productions in L2 based on the CEFR; a revised format of the oral exam to include multimodality.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>