Nazarbayev University
Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education

Mukul Saxena


Mukul Saxena
Full Professor
Multilingual education

Mukul Saxena is a British academic with more than 30 years of experience of teaching and research in the UK (York University, Lancaster University, York St John University and Warwick University) and Asia (Delhi University in India; Brunei University in Brunei Darussalam, South East Asia; and Nottingham University in China). His research has been primarily informed by socio-/applied-linguistics of multilingualism and includes three broad types: ethnographic research on the use of multilingual resources in face-to-face interaction; research on multilingual and digital literacies; and research related to the processes involved in the translation of language policies into classroom practices.  His research projects have been funded by ESRC in the UK and by universities and the Ministry of Education in Brunei, China and India. They have been situated in different settings in the UK and Asia, such as, in communities, school classrooms, university classrooms, and workplace, as well as in urban and rural contexts. His research publications are read internationally, particularly in the areas of multilingual classroom interaction and multilingual literacies. His work has contributed to language policies and language education policies in the countries in which he has worked. He has worked with research scholars from Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Some other indicators of the national and international contribution of his research work are invitations for external examining of undergraduate & postgraduate programmes in the UK, and PhDs internationally; invitation to international conferences; invitation as a reviewer by ESRC (Economic & Social Research Council, UK) and other funding bodies in Europe and Asia; and invitations to be on scientific committee of international conferences.



 PhD     University of York, York (UK)


Thematic Areas       

Ethnography of Language Education Policy

Multilingual Classroom Discourse

Multilingual and Digital Literacies


Research Subthemes           

‘Societal Multilingualism’, ‘Language Maintenance & Shift’, ‘Language, Power & Identity’, ‘Minority Languages’, ‘Diversity & Superdiversity’, ‘Code-switching & Translanguaging’, and ‘World Englishes’.


Geographical Areas

Europe and Asia


Funded Projects      

  • ESRC (UK)

Bilingual Resources in Primary Classroom Interaction (1989-92): Marilyn Martin-Jones (PI), David Barton and Roz Ivanic (Co-researchers), Mukul Saxena (Research Assistant). Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

  • ESRC (UK)

Literacy Practices: Home, Community & School (1993-95) Marilyn Martin-Jones (PI), Mukul Saxena and David Barton (Co-researchers), Arvind Bhatt (Research Assistant). Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

  • Ministry of Education (Brunei Darussalam)

Atlas of the Languages and Ethnic Communities of Brunei (200-2003) Mukul Saxena (PI) Peter Sercombe and Hairuni Maricar and Yusop Damit (Co-researchers). University of Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam

  • Ministry of Education (Brunei Darussalam)

Towards an Ethnography of Academic and non-Academic Literacies (2002-2004) Mukul Saxena (PI), James McLellan and Rosnah Ramly (Co-researchers).

  • Ministry of Education (Brunei Darussalam)

Globalisation & Language in Education Policy in Southeast Asian Societies (2006-2007) Mukul Saxena (PI), University of Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam; and Angel Lin (Co-researcher) University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  • University Funding (China)

Intercultural Communication in the Classrooms at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China (2015-16) ) Mukul Saxena (PI) Ping Du and Simon Harrison (Co-researcher) the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China




Saxena, M. and Omoniyi, T. (2010) (Eds.) Contending with Globalisation in World Englishes. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters

Saxena, M. & Martin-Jones, M. (2013) (Eds) Multilingual Resources in Classroom Interaction: Ethnographic and Discourse Analytic Perspectives. A special volume of Language and Education, 27, no. 4: 285-397

Saxena, M. (2019/forthcoming) Multilingualism, Globalization and English: Ethnography of  Language Education Policy in Action. UK: Palgrave

Sercombe, P and Saxena, M. (2020/forthcoming) Theory and Practice of Intercultural Communication. UK: Edenborough University Press Lin Dai and Saxena, M. (forthcoming) Ethnography of Language Education Policy of Culture Teaching in ELT in China.


Selected Research Papers:

 The above forthcoming books combine the following three themes in my research in different contexts:


 Multilingualism and digital literacies

Saxena, M. and Kwok Wai Wan (forthcoming) Multilingualism and Multimodality in Digital Communication among Chinese Youth.

Saxena, M. (2016). Multilingual Literacies in Mobile Devices: Digital Communication among Youth. In Xu, X. (2016). (Ed.). Handbook of Research on Human Social Interaction in the Age of Mobile Devices. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.

Saxena, M.  (2011) Reified languages and scripts versus real literacy values and practices: insights from research with young bilinguals in an Islamic state. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education Compare, 41 (2), 277 - 292

Saxena, M. (2001) Taking account of history and culture in community-based research on multilingual literacy. In M. Martin-Jones and J. Kathryn (eds.) Multilingual literacies: reading and writing different worlds. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Pp. 275-298.

Saxena, M. (1996) Multiliteracy practices and values: An ethnographic account of a Panjabi family in Britain. In J. Maybin and N. Mercer (eds.) Using English: From conversation to cannon. London: Routledge. Pp. 64-67.

Saxena, M. (1994) Literacies among the Panjabis in Southall. In M. Hamilton, D. Barton & R. Ivanic (eds.) Worlds of Literacies. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Pp. 195-214.


‘Ethnography of language education policy’ and ‘multilingual classroom discourse’

Saxena, M. and Lin Dai (forthcoming) A Linguistic Ethnography of Teaching of ‘Culture’ in Two ELT Classrooms in China.

Saxena, M. (2016). Multilingual Literacies in Mobile Devices: Digital Communication among Youth. In Xu, X. (2016). (Ed.). Handbook of Research on Human Social Interaction in the Age of Mobile Devices. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.

Saxena, M. (2016) Innovations in Research and Teaching in Multilingual Classrooms. In R. Agnihotri, K.L. Khanna and A. Gupta (Eds.) Innovations in Language Classrooms. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan

Saxena, M. & Martin-Jones, M. (2013) Introduction: Multilingual Resources in Classroom Interaction: Ethnographic and Discourse Analytic Perspectives. Language and Education, 27, no. 4: 285-397

Saxena, M. (2010) Reconceptualising teachers’ directive and supportive scaffolding in bilingual classrooms within the neo-Vygotskyan approach. Journal of Applied Linguistics & Professional Practice, 7 (2), pp. 163-184

Saxena, M. (2009) Negotiating Conflicting Ideologies and Linguistic Otherness Code-switching in English Classrooms. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 167-187

Martin-Jones, M. and Saxena (2003) Bilingual resources and ‘Funds of Knowledge’ for teaching and learning in multi-ethnic classrooms in Britain. International Journal of  Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Volume 6, Number 3/4, pp 267-282.

Martin-Jones, M. and Saxena, M. (1995) Supporting or containing bilingualism? Policies, Power Asymmetries and Pedagogic Practices in Mainstream Primary Classrooms. In J.W. Tollefson (ed.) Language, Power and Inequality. New York: CUP. Pp. 73-90.


Multilingual ideologies, identity and life trajectories

Saxena, M.  (2014) ‘Critical Diglossia’ & ‘Lifestyle Diglossia’: Development and the Interaction between Multilingualism, Cultural Diversity and English. International   Journal of Sociology of Language, Vol 2014, Issue 225, pp. 91–112

Saxena, M. (2006) Multilingual and multicultural identities in Brunei Darussalam. In A.B.M. Tsui & J. Tollefson (eds.) Language policy, culture and identity in Asian contexts. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum

Saxena, M. (2002) Investigating language maintenance & shift among non-indigenous minorities: Age-grading and/or Age-cohort analysis? In M. David (ed.) Methodological Issues in Language Maintenance and Shift. Duisberg, Germany: Lang Verlag. Pp. 37-56.