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Dr Sam Austen

Profile summary

  • Regional Academic Staff
  • Staff Tutor, English Language
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Languages and Applied Linguistics
  • English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • samantha.austen

Professional biography

I am a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Open University. My research interests include conceptual transfer in second language acquisition, langauge teaching and learning, cognitive lingusitics and its application to classroom practice. I gained my PhD at Cardiff University in early 2016, with a thesis entitled: Learner error in second language acquisition: the transfer of form or concept? and joined the Open University in June of the same year. I come to the OU with a background in language teaching and learning, in particular EAP and Italian. I spent over ten years working in universities in Malta, Italy and latterly the University of Worcester UK teaching, developing and directing English language programmes for international and home students. I have also worked as a teacher of EFL, French and Italian.

Research interests

My research focuses on the investigation of conceptual transfer in learner interlanguage using a number of methods including think aloud reports, verbal production and psycholinguistic tasks as well as eye-tracking data.

As well as looking for compelling evidence for conceptual transfer in learner language and behaviour, I am interested in the implications of my research for classroom practice. My results have highlighted the importance of promoting meta-linguistic awareness and using embodied learning techniques to facilitate second language acquisition.

I am also interested in the teaching of EAP in the higher education context both in the UK and abroad.


Impact and engagement

I am a member of BAAL, EUROSLA and IATEFL.


Native Language (L1) Transfer in Second Language Learning: From Form to Concept, the Implications (2017-09)
Austen, Samantha
Xjenza Online - Journal of the Malta Chamber of Scientists, 5(1) (pp. 77-80)


OU student wins Care Apprentice Award

Heather always wanted to be a mental health nurse, having worked as a carer for a number of years. When she was given the chance by her employer to study for an Open University course in Health Care Practise, she grabbed the opportunity. Earlier this year, Heather was awarded the Care Apprentice Award at the National Care Awards, as Carers Week begins, she talks about her journey with The OU.

10th June 2019
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