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.
PhD, Applied Linguistics, Northumbria University
Theory, ‘plausibility’ and practice in English Language Teaching: from disciplinary knowledge to practitioner understanding
MA, Applied Linguistics, Lancaster University30 Jun 1998 - 31 Dec 2099
PGCE, Education, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust30 Jun 1994 - 31 Dec 2099
CELTA, Education31 Jan 1992 - 31 Dec 2099
BA (Hons), Geography, Newcastle University