Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

PhD & Postdoc

Please note that capacities for PhD-supervision are limited. We do not offer a taught PhD-programme.

In case you wish to pursue PhD-research with us, please send a personalised letter of intent to Prof. Breidbach. In your message, you should very briefly outline your research interest and briefly explain your motivation to join our research group.

Research funding will in most cases be an issue. In your initial message, you should also indicate possible funding opportunities that you would like to access. Applicants from outside Germany are advised to consult the website by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for scholarship options before getting in touch with us. Please also read our page on application and funding for PhD-projects.

Below you find a brief outline of research activities done the English Language Education section of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. For an overview of our teacher professional and classroom development, please click here.


In our research we focus on the following topic areas:

  • Philosophy of (language) education
  • Content and language integrated learning (CLIL)
  • Diversity in language education
  • Teacher professoinal development
  • Urban multi- and plurililngualism and language pedagogy
  • History and sociology of teaching language(s)
  • Critical literacies


The main research strategies we employ are

  • Conceptual/Theoretical work informed by critical pedagogy and postmodern philosophy of education.
  • Empirical work aiming at the reconstruction of individual and collective or institutional meaning making processes in teaching and learning languages.


The normative stances underlying our research - and that we personally subscribe to - can be summarised in these terms:

  • Promotion of concepts of (language) education for democratic citizenship, equity, and social justice
  • Empowerment of teachers and learners
  • Promotion of reflexive educational practice
  • Critical analysis of mainstream/common sense in language education


Our research is chiefly informed by epistemologies and theoretical frameworks such as the following:

  • Postmodern theory of discourse and power relations (e.g. M. Foucault, J. Butler)
  • Postmodern philosophy of education (e.g. H. Peukert, H.-C. Koller)
  • Critical Pedagogy (e.g. H. Giroux, P. Mc Laren, K. Kumashiro)
  • Sociology of knowledge (e.g. K. Mannheim)
  • Phenomenological sociology (e.g. A. Schütz, Th. Berger/P. Luckmann)
  • Language as a Social Semiotic (e.g. M.K.A. Halliday) as Culture and Ideology (e.g. M.K.A. Halliday/R. Martin, The New London Group)
  • Socio-constructionist theory of learning (e.g. L. Vygotsky, G. S. Bruner)