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Personal profile

Research interests

My teaching at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level mostly focuses on either TESOL or Sociolinguistics. Currently, these interests come together in my third year undergraduate module 'World Englishes'. At Postgraduate level, I offer modules exploring 'Issues and Trends in Classroom Language Teaching', and have also taught the MA module 'Critical Perspectives on Global TESOL'.

During my time at Northumbria, I have also received five ‘Applauding and Promoting Teaching’ awards (2001, 2003, 2008, 2018 and 2019) for my work on assessment in Postgraduate modules, the experience of international students within the university, and the Undergraduate student experience.

Broadly, I am interested in the uncertainties of language teaching and complexity in the L2 classroom. For example, (how) do teachers help or hinder learners, how might we create learning opportunities in the L2 classroom, and what might learners learn as a result? Thus, I am particularly interested in classroom-centred research and classroom discourse, and in finding sustainable ways for teachers (and learners) to develop understandings of what takes place in their own classrooms. Consequently, I am interested in how teachers develop their own theories about language teaching/learning, the extent to which they engage (or don't engage!) with published research and academic theory-building, and the implications of all this for their teaching.

Additionally, I am interested in Critical Pedagogy and its implications for English language teaching. How appropriate are the issues critical approaches raise in individuals’ professional contexts, and how might the debates and discourses surrounding linguistic imperialism; language and power; ELT methodology, curricula and materials etc be taken forward at the local level? Consequently, I am also interested in the changing role and of English in the world and the debates surrounding the ‘ownership’ of English and World Englishes.

More specifically, ongoing research projects focus on the use of learners’ own language(s) in the ELT (or foreign language) classroom, whether by teachers or by the learners themselves. When is the learners’ own language used, how, by whom, and why? How might it be used in an appropriate and purposeful manner to support learning (and, also, not be ‘over-used’)? And why was own-language use ignored by the ‘mainstream’ ELT and applied linguistics literature for so long?

My research also focuses on the experiences of children in British schools who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL). Looking at the relationship between education through the English language and migration, it aims to understand how school students from a range of backgrounds, and with a range of abilities and experiences, navigate their learning and life in school, and the ways in which schools might support them in this.

In 2011 and 2013, I received British Council ELT Research Partnership (ELTRP) awards to investigate ‘The use of the learners’ own-language in ELT classrooms’, and ‘The English language needs and priorities of young adults in the European Union’. I received a similar award in 2016 to explore ‘‘English language education and migration: implications for secondary level students who have English as an Additional Language’, and in 2019 also received an ELTRP award to explore 'English language teachers' engagement with published research: perceptions, priorities and pedagogy'.

My book, Exploring English Languageteaching: language in action (Routledge, 2011; second edition 2017) was awarded the 2012 British Association of Applied Linguists Book Prize, and I edited the 2016 Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching.

 

Further Information

Professional Activity

Affiliations and Memberships

British Association for Applied Linguistics: Member

International Association of Teachers of English as Foreign Language (IATEFL): Member (former Treasurer and member of the Coordinating Committee, co-ordinator of Global Issues Special Interest Group (GISIG) and member of IATEFL’s Conference Committee; current member of IATEFL’s Advisory Council)

Higher Education Academy: Fellow

National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA): Member

National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC): Member 

 

Editor, ELT Journal, 2013-17  (editor of ELTJ's 'Key Concepts' feature, 2011-13)

Visiting Professor, Department of English and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, University of Lleida, Spain (2018)

 

Current and Recent Projects

British Council ELT Research Partnership Award ongoing 2019 (Sept. 2019 - Oct. 2020): ‘English language teachers’ engagement with published research: perceptions, priorities and pedagogy’ (as Principal Investigator) 

British Council ELT Research Partnership Award 2016 (Sept. 2016 - Dec. 2017): ‘English language education and migration: implications for secondary level students who have English as an Additional Language   (as Principal Investigator)

British Council ELT Research Partnership Award 2013 (Oct. 2013- Dec. 2014): ‘The English language needs and priorities of young adults in the EU: student and teacher perceptions’ (as Principal Investigator; co-investigator Professor Guy Cook, Kings College London; research assistant, Dr. Alison Twinner)

British Council ELT Research Partnership Award 2011 (Oct. 2011- Dec. 2012): ‘The use of learners’ own languages in ELT: exploring global practices and attitudes’ (as Principal Investigator; co-investigator Professor Guy Cook, Kings College London; research assistant, Dr. Alison Twinner)

 

Education/Academic qualification

Applied Linguistics, PhD, Northumbria University

Award Date: 18 Dec 2017

Applied Linguistics, MA, Lancaster University

30 Jun 199831 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 1998

Education, PGCE, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

30 Jun 199431 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 1994

Education, CELTA

31 Jan 199231 Dec 2099

Award Date: 31 Jan 1992

Geography, BA (Hons), Newcastle University

Award Date: 18 Jul 1991

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