Annina Hessel

Annina Hessel

Education (2015 cohort)

Annina Hessel is doing her doctorate in the Department of Education in collaboration with the Department of Experimental Psychology. Annina researches where children learning English as an additional language (EAL) struggle when reading texts, and which children struggle most. She has a particular interest in higher-level comprehension, including figurative language, notably metaphors. 

Her research is rooted in both educational and psycholinguistic research. She combines eye-tracking and comprehension questions to understand how the process of reading links to comprehension. She also compares children's individual differences to understand which developing (bilingual) readers experience comprehension difficulties.


Annina started her research in Oxford with an MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition that she completed with a distinction, and is now doing her second year of the PhD. 

Before coming to Oxford, Annina has studied and taught foreign languages in France and Germany. She completed the German teacher training course at the university and holds both a Bachelor and a Master of Education in English and French from the University of Mainz, Germany. Her interest in language learning has led her to seek out various teaching opportunities as a language assistant, private tutor, and tour guide. Currently, she teaches a practical on the Quantitative Methods course in the Department of Education, as well as other sessions on applied linguistics and language didactics at the University.

During her MEd, Annina trained in psycholinguistic methods of eye-tracking and event-related potential measurements as an intern of the Neurolab in Mainz. She furthermore has gathered experience in educational research regarding test development for students with dyslexia and evaluating school interventions. She continues to draw on both psycholinguistic and educational methods in her current research.

As part of her research activities, she has contributed to the organisation of two interdisciplinary graduate conferences, the ICog 2014 and the Gloabal Collaboration 2014 (Fachschaftstagung für Globale Zusammenarbeit). In 2016, she was involved in the organisation of the postgraduate STORIES conference 2015 as well as the Young Language Learners conference in July 2016.


Language learning, bilingualism, primary school education, English as an additional language, eye-tracking, reading comprehension, vocabulary, individual differences