Dr Indu Vibha Meddegama
Senior Lecturer; Programme Lead - Postgraduate Languages and Linguistics
BA (Peradeniya, Sri Lanka), MA (York St John University), PhD (Leeds), FHEA
Born and raised in Sri Lanka, I was named ‘Indu’ by my parents -a Sinhala name with Sanskrit origins- to mean the moon.
I received most of my primary and secondary education in this island known by many a name: Serendip, Ceylon, Taprobane and Sri Lanka, to name a few. Hurrying to the bus stop as early as 5.30 just so I could get onto a reasonably ‘empty’ bus to go to school on a morning, braving the monsoon showers and the muddy pools on the roads that turned my white uniform and shoes brown, studying under candlelight because of the endless storm-triggered power cuts and reciting, parrot-like, the Pali verses at the Sunday school, bring back memories of a beautiful childhood and adolescence spent in this country.
On reflection, it was my school that laid the foundation for the career path I’ve chosen today; for teaching is what I always seem to have done. At the age of seventeen I volunteered to teach English to grade 6, 7 and 8 students at my Secondary school in Sri Lanka whilst completing my A/Levels at the same institution. Owing to university closures and a backlog created by the civil war in the country, I was unable to start my undergraduate degree straight after A/Levels. So in the interim, I completed the diplôme de langue Française at the Alliance Française in my hometown and spent three years teaching French to both adults and children and received my first formal training in teaching an additional language.
At the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, I completed a BA in English linguistics and literature. Soon after, I started working as an instructor and subsequently a lecturer in English language: teaching undergraduates, postgraduates and Secondary school teachers of English.
My interest in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) therefore stemmed from my work experience in Sri Lanka. In 2007, I moved to England to complete the MA in English language teaching at York St John University. This programme offered a theoretical foundation to what I had experienced as an ELT practitioner and introduced me to World Englishes and Multilingualism, two areas within linguistics that I remain truly passionate about to date. Soon after completing my MA, I was awarded a fully-funded scholarship to complete a PhD researching the language practices of a South Indian immigrant community in Yorkshire, UK. During my doctoral studies, I continued to teach working on English for Academic Purposes courses at the Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield, Durham and Leeds and as a visiting lecturer at York St John University. In 2014, I joined the School of Languages and Linguistics as a full-time lecturer in applied linguistics and TESOL and currently teach on both BA and MA courses whilst supervising postgraduate research students.
In my spare time, I like to bake, go hill walking and challenge myself by trying out new fitness classes!
Module director and tutor:
Dissertation: TESOL and Linguistics (BA)
Key concepts for language learning and teaching (BA)
World Englishes (BA)
Language Structure: Grammar (BA)
Theory and practice in language teaching (MA)
Current: Member of the Wellbeing Strategy Working Group
Current: External Examiner, BA and MA units in TESOL, Manchester Metropolitan University
Current: Member, Centre for Language and Social Justice, York St John University
Current: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
Current: Member, British Association of Applied Linguistics.
Current: Mentor and Assessor, Fellowship Programme of the Higher Education Academy, UK
2019-2020 Quality Panel rep, School of Education, Language and Psychology, York St John University
2018-2019 Editor, Extended abstracts, BAAL 2018 online proceedings, York St John University
2009-2019 Member of Language and Identities in InterAction (LIdIA) research unit, School of Languages & Linguistics, York St John University.
- Meddegama, I.V. & Qian, Y. “We were willing to try again and make it understandable for both parties”: Working across geographical borders to dispel language misconceptions (in press), Bedrettin Yazan & Ali Fuad (Eds), Global Englishes Language Teacher Education, Routledge.
- Meddegama, I.V. ‘Back home men have the power, but here they have nothing’ Level of competence in the host language and role reversals amongst first-generation Malayali migrants in a North English city (in preparation), Annika Norlund (Ed), Literacies in the age of mobility – Literacy practices of adult and adolescent migrants, Palgrave McMillan.
- Meddegama, I.V. (2019) Cultural values and practices: the pillars of heritage language maintenance endeavours within an immigrant multilingual Malayali community in the UK. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 23(6).
- Meddegama, I.V. (2018) Bilingualism: how to get your child to speak your language – and why it matters. The Conversation.
- Meddegama, I. (2017) A Narrative on the Use of Interviews to Shape an Ethnographic Research into Family Language Practices. In Jean Conteh (Ed.), Researching Education for Social Justice in Multilingual Settings. London: Bloomsbury.
- Meddegama, I.V. (2011) ‘A sociolinguistic study of the status/power relations enacted through the linguistic practices of a multi-generational, Indian, immigrant community.’ Proceedings of the first interdisciplinary linguistics conference on Crossing boundaries: the impact of language studies in academia and beyond, Queen’s University Belfast, 2011, pp.68.
- Meddegama, I.V. (2009) Fantasy and the credulous spectator. In: Kumarasinghe, K. (ed), Wimal Dissanayake and the Communication World, Colombo.
Recent conference presentations and invited talks
- 'Reflecting its socio-cultural setting: Sri Lankan English vocabulary', Festival of Ideas, York St John University, June 2019.
- 'Public engagement: focusing on processes - from planning to post-event management', LIdIA, York St John University, with Chisato Danjo and Clare Cunningham, March 2019.
- The cultural practices and values of an immigrant multilingual Malayali community in the UK: pillars of heritage language maintenance', Multilingual language theories and practices conference, University of Valladolid, Spain, April 2018.
- ‘From ‘will they understand us?’ to ‘the way they speak is not incorrect English, it is their variety, China English’. Moving beyond geographical borders for engagement and disengagement’. Talking about Teaching conference, York St John University, January 2016.
- ‘Breaking paradigms: the language learner(s) in two-generational immigrant multilingual families and heritage and host language acquisition within the home domain’. BAAL conference, Aston University, September 2015.
- 'The immigrant multilingual, Malayalis in York, UK- a paradigm of heritage language maintenance'. Languages and Linguistics Colloquium Series, York St John University, March 2015.
- ‘Championing heritage language maintenance endeavours: multilingual Malayali women’. ‘Perspectives on multilingualism’ colloquium, British Association of Applied Linguistics annual conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, August 2019.
- 'Sri Lankan Englishes', World Englishes guest lecture series, SOAS, January 2019.