Applied Linguistics and TESOL

Membership: Jim Askham, Glenn Fulcher, Ian Hutchby, Jim King, Julie Norton, Pam Rogerson-Revell, Nick Smith, Agneta Svalberg.

Convener: Julie Norton

Scope and purpose

Members of this group have expertise in the broad areas of language analysis, teaching, learning and use. Our research and teaching interests include: language teacher education; language testing and assessment; psychological issues in language learning (e.g. silence in the classroom); learner variables (e.g. motivation, identity); materials development for language teaching; lesson study; conversation analysis; discourse analysis; intercultural communication; phonology; technology in language education; corpus linguistics; language policy and practice; language use in wider society; language change; grammar; engagement with language; teachers’/learners’ language awareness.

We pursue these interests in a wide variety of national and international contexts and supervise post-graduate and doctoral research in the above areas. Please see individuals’ webpages for further details.

We are committed to fostering a rich, research community where members of staff and research students share and develop research ideas and give feedback to each other on work in progress. We encourage collaboration with other research groups both within and beyond the University of Leicester. The group organises talks by visiting speakers and holds regular ‘round table’ meetings at which members share on-going research, present and critique papers in progress, and discuss other relevant topics to help stimulate and support each other in the development of high quality research ideas, bids and projects, and the dissemination of such research.

More Information

For information about the group (including meeting times and venues), please contact Julie Norton:

Our Research

In this section, we summarise some of the current areas of research that we are involved in.

Jim Askham

Jim has one current research project with Jim King with the thematic focus:
‘Dynamic change in the autonomy of novice and early-career second language teachers.’

It makes use of Q-sort methodology to engage with language teacher perceptions and evaluations of key professional development issues.

He is also a member of the Lesson Study Research Group (LSRG) at the University of Leicester and has contributed to a recent University of Leicester MOOC - People Studying People: Research Ethics in Society.

Glenn Fulcher

Glenn is currently focusing on three inter-related areas of research. The first is the development of new approaches to assessment literacy and the pedagogy of language testing. The second is the social impact of language testing and the use of test scores for high stakes purposes; of particular interest are the legal aspects of using test scores as surrogates for social policies, such as immigration control. The third area is one of Glenn’s long standing interests – performance assessment, and more specifically the design of measurement models and scoring instruments for tests of speaking.

Recent publications in these areas include:

Fulcher, G. (2016). Criteria for Evaluating Language Quality. In Shohamy, E. (Ed). Language Testing and Assessment. Vol. 7. of the Encyclopaedia of Language and Education. New York: Springer. 2nd Edition.

Fulcher, G. (2015). Re-examining Language Testing: A philosophical and social inquiry. London and New York: Routledge (Winner of the ILTA/SAGE 2016 Book Award)

Fulcher, G. (2014). Language Testing in the Dock: Assessment and the Law. In Kunnan, A. J. (Ed.) The Companion to Language Testing. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fulcher, G. (2012). "Assessment literacy for the language classroom." Language Assessment Quarterly 9, 2, 113 - 132.

Fulcher, G., Davidson, F., and Kemp, J. (2011). "Effective rating scale development for speaking tests: Performance Decision Trees." Language Testing 28, 1, 5 - 29.

Further information is available from

Ian Hutchby

Ian Hutchby’s research specialises in conversation analysis. He is the author of numerous books in this field including Conversation Analysis (w. Robin Wooffitt) (Polity 1998; 2nd Ed. 2008), Conversation and Technology (Polity 2001) and Methods in Language and Social Interaction (4 Vols) (Sage 2008).

Broadly speaking Ian is interested in the ways in which everyday speech relates to the structures of human relations, social institutions, and other mediating environmental factors such as technology. This has involved research in a range of areas including language in broadcasting, the role of new technologies in mediating interaction, children’s language and interaction skills, psychotherapy and other counselling and clinical discourses.

Currently Ian is focusing on 3 research themes: 1) The analysis of hybrid linguistic formats in the context of current broadcast political journalism; 2) A study in collaboration with the University of Leicester's Greenwood Institute for Child Mental Health investigating lay-professional speech dynamics in family therapy interviews; 3) Studies of various verbal and para-verbal phenomena involved in modulating the production of 'delicate' speech.

Recent publications

Hutchby, I. (2017) ‘Hybridisation, personalisation and tribuneship in the broadcast political interview.’ Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, Vol. 18 No 1: 101-118.

Hutchby, I. (2016) ‘Infelicitous talk: Politicians’ words and the media ecology in three British political gaffes.’ Journal of Language and Politics, Vol. 15 No.6: 667-687.

Hutchby, I. (2015) ‘Therapeutic vision: Eliciting talk about feelings in child counselling for family separation.’ Pp. 541-558 in M. O’Reilly and J. Lester (eds.), Handbook of Child Mental Health. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hutchby, I. (2014) ‘Communicative affordances and participation frameworks in mediated interaction.’ Journal of Pragmatics, Vol. 72 Oct 2014: 86-89.

Hutchby, I. (2014) ‘“I mean is that right?” Frame ambiguity and troublesome advice-seeking on a radio helpline.’ Pp. 157-178 in E.-M. Graf, M. Sator and T. Spranz-Fogasy (eds.), Discourses of Helping Professions. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Stafford, V., Hutchby, I. , Karim, K. and O’Reilly, M. (2014) ‘“Why are you here?”: Seeking children’s accounts of their presentation to child and adolescent mental health services.’ Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 19 No. 4: 489-505.

Hutchby, I. (2013) ‘Obama in the No Spin Zone.’ Pp. 41-62 in M. Ekstrom and A. Tolson (eds.), Media Talk and Political Elections in Europe and the USA. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jim King

Jim is particularly interested in situated psychological aspects of Foreign Language Teaching and Second Language Acquisition. His most recent and current research projects have focused primarily on the phenomenon of silence and nonverbal communication in language learning, looking at these issues from an affective (emotions) perspective. Jim is intrigued by the differing forms and functions of silence within educational contexts, how silence impacts upon learning and also by how silent episodes and the concomitant nonverbal behaviour which accompanies them may be misinterpreted during intercultural encounters. Some of Jim’s silence-related publications include:

• King, J. (2013). Silence in the second language classroom. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
• King, J. (2013). Silence in the second language classrooms of Japanese universities. Applied Linguistics, 34(3), 325-343.
• King, J. (2014). Fear of the true self: Social anxiety and the silent behaviour of Japanese learners of English. In: K. Csizér & M. Magid (Eds.), The impact of self-concept on language learning (pp. 232-249). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
• King, J. & Smith, L. (2017). Social anxiety and silence in Japan’s tertiary foreign language classrooms. In C. Gkonou, J-M. Dewaele &, M. Daubney (Eds.), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (pp. 92-110). Bristol: Multilingual Matters

Jim’s research is international and collaborative in its outlook and he recently founded the Nonverbal Communication and Affect Research Group (NARG) with researchers based in The Department of Psychology, Fukuyama University and the Foreign Language Centre of Tokai University in Tokyo. He is also the Principal Investigator (PI) on the project Silence in the English-medium Classrooms of Japanese Universities; a longitudinal intervention study which he is conducting with research partners from Kansai University in Osaka.

This international outlook is also seen in Jim’s edited volume The dynamic interplay between context and the language learner (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan – 2015) in which applied linguistics scholars from Austria, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States contribute to a state-of-the-art work which acknowledges that learners’ psychological characteristics and classroom behaviours are highly dynamic and can be influenced by a multitude of competing temporal and situational factors on various timescales.

Jim takes a keen interest in the psychology of language teachers themselves and has recently conducted research which seeks to better understand teachers’ in-class emotional displays and the emotion regulation strategies that they employ when teaching. His publications in this area include:

• King, J. & Ng, K-Y. S. (forthcoming). Teacher emotions and the emotional labour of second language teaching. In S. Mercer & A. Kostoulas (Eds.), Teacher psychology in SLA. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
• King, J. (2016). “It’s time, put on the smile, it’s time!”: The emotional labour of second language teaching within a Japanese university. In C. Gkonou, D. Tatzl, & S. Mercer (Eds.), New Directions in Language Learning Psychology (pp. 97-112). Dordrecht: Springer.

A further, ongoing, longitudinal project of Jim’s (conducted with colleague, Dr Jim Askham) uses Q-sort methodology to investigate trainee language teachers’ dynamically changing perceptions of teacher autonomy over the course of a year-long MA Applied Linguistics/TESOL programme.

Julie Norton

Julie Norton is currently involved in two strands of research: Materials Development in English Language Teaching; and Lesson Study. She draws upon discourse analysis in her work in both these areas. Julie is a founder member of the Lesson Study Research Group (LSRG) at the University of Leicester (

Materials Development

Julie was involved in the development of a new flagship coursebook series for Oxford University Press (OUP) and was co-author of the B1 level of this course:

Krantz, C. and Norton, J. (2015) Navigate, B1, Pre-Intermediate Student’s Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

In recent years, she has presented papers at the annual IATEFL conference on expertise in materials writing, considering teacher, learner, author and publisher perspectives. She was an invited speaker at the IATEFL Materials Writing Special Interest Group (MaWSIG) Conference in February, 2016. The talk, entitled, ‘Writing skills for effective 21st century materials’ focussed on the differing demands that writing for print versus digital imposes on ELT materials writers. Julie is an invited speaker at the Pre-Conference Event for MaWSIG at IATEFL Glasgow, 2017. Her talk (with Heather Buchanan) is entitled ‘Collaboration, Creativity and Coursebooks’.

Julie was invited to give a talk on “Developing 21St Century Communication Skills’, which focussed on ELT methodology and the Navigate coursebook series, on behalf of OUP at Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey in November, 2016.

Julie teaches the Materials Development and Design Option course on the MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL programme. This option course is available on campus and by distance learning.

Recent publications in this area also include:

Norton, J.E. (2015) Developing Speaking Skills: ‘How are Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches Represented in Coursebooks?’ European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL. Volume 4/2: 53-72.
Lesson Study

Julie is actively involved in research into Lesson Study (LS). She is collaborating in international research projects with the University of Stavanger, Norway and with the University of Gediz, Turkey. Julie was a plenary speaker at two international teacher education conferences at the University of Gediz, Izmir, Turkey in June, 2015 and 2016. She also presented the findings of a research project on LS in a Turkish university at the World Association of Lesson Study (WALS) Conference, which was held at the University of Exeter, UK, in September, 2016.

Recent publications include:

Norton, J.E. (in press) ‘Lesson study: a collaborative vehicle for professional learning and practice development of ESP teachers in higher education’. In Kirkgӧz, Y. and Dikilitaş, K. (Eds.) Key Issues in English for Specific Purposes. Springer Verlag.

Wood, P., Fox, A. Norton, J. & Tas, M. (2017) ‘The Experience of Lesson Study in the UK’ in International Handbook of Action Research. Palgrave.

Julie would particularly welcome applications from doctoral students in the areas of Materials Development and Design, ELT methodology, and Lesson Study.

Pam Rogerson-Revell

Pam’s research interests cover the following areas of Applied Linguistics and TESOL; English as a business lingua franca (BELF), phonology and pronunciation teaching and Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL).
Pam is currently writing another book on phonology and pronunciation which relates research and practice in the field ‘Teaching and Researching Pronunciation: Applications of phonology in applied linguistics’ which builds on her earlier research and publications in this area. She has also recently started a two-year funded research project ‘Investigating the gap between pronunciation research and teaching: English language teachers’ knowledge, perspectives and practices’ with co-investigator Dr Wafa Zoghbor at Zayed University, UAE.

Pam also has a strong research interest in the use of English in business lingua franca (BELF) and is currently researching differences in speech rate between L1 and L2 speakers of English in international business meetings, again building on her earlier research in this field. Pam is jointly organising a colloquium on ‘Multiple perspectives on BELF: research, teaching and practice’ at the ELF conference in Helskinki in June 2017.

Pam also continues to be actively involved in developing and researching online and distance learning pedagogies. She has been involved in many funded projects in this area and is currently leading the development of a MOOC which will generate many interesting research avenues.

Recent publications in these areas include:

Pennington, M. & Rogerson Revell, P. (forthcoming) Teaching and Researching Pronunciation: Applications of phonology in applied linguistics. Research and Practice in Applied Linguistics Series.London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rogerson-Revell, P. (forthcoming) English Vowels and Consonants, In Kang, O. Thomson,R. & Murphy, J. (Eds.)Routledge Handbook of English Pronunciation. New York: Routledge.

Rogerson-Revell, P. (2015) Constructively aligning technologies with learning and assessment in a distance MA programme. Distance Education, vol 36 (1) 129-147 .

Rogerson-Revell, P. (2014). Pronunciation matters: using English for international business communication. In van den Doel, R. & Rupp, L. (eds.) Pronunciation Matters. Amsterdam:VU Uitgeveri.j

Rogerson-Revell, P, Armellini, A. And Nie, M. (2012) ‘A cost benefit analysis of voice boards, e-book readers and virtual worlds in distance education’ Open Learning, vol 27, (2):103-119.Rogerson-Revell, P. (2011) Chairing international business meetings: investigating humour and leadership style in the workplace. In Angouri, J. and Marra, M. (eds) Constructing Identities at Work, London:Palgrave.

Rogerson-Revell, P. (2011) English phonology and pronunciation teaching. London:Bloomsbury.


Nick Smith

Nick has been involved in a series of projects aimed at improving understanding of recent grammatical and stylistic change in standard English. In collaboration with colleagues at Lancaster, Freiburg and Zürich, he has been investigating changing patterns of grammatical usage in British and American English, and exploring possible factors underlying the changes identified. This work has entailed annotation and detailed analysis of computer corpora (i.e. large, searchable electronic samples of text), and creation of new corpora from the early twentieth century (e.g. BLOB-1931). Prior to this Nick worked on the automated grammatical annotation of the British National Corpus.

Through these activities Nick has developed a strong interest in corpus methodology, particularly ways of enhancing the design and annotation of corpora to support investigations of language in use. He is currently working on design issues in spoken language corpora, and analysing aspects of language change in broadcast standard British English.

Nick is a member of the international consortium developing the ARCHER corpus. This corpus is a major resource for studying regional differences and historical change in British and American English from 1600 to the present day. His main involvement is in enhancing the grammatical annotation of the corpus. He has made similar contributions to the NECTE and FRED-S corpora of English dialects.

Nick is also a board member of ICAME, an organisation founded to promote the creation, dissemination and investigation of corpora of English.

Nick has supervisory experience in the above areas, and has contributed to doctoral training programmes in corpus methodology in Japan, Sweden and the UK.

Selected Publications

Smith, N. & G. Leech (2013). ‘Verb structures in twentieth-century British English’. In B. Aarts, J. Close, G. Leech & S. Wallis (eds.) The Verb Phrase in English: Investigating Recent Language Change with Corpora. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 68-98.

Smith, N. and E. Seoane. (2013). ‘Categorizing syntactic constructions in a corpus’. In M. Krug and J. Schlüter (eds.) Research Methods in Language Variation and Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.212-227.

Leech, G., N. Smith and P. Rayson. (2012). English style on the move: variation and change in stylistic norms in the twentieth century. In M. Kytö (ed.) English Corpus Linguistics: Crossing Paths. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 69-98.

Leech, G., M. Hundt, C. Mair & N. Smith (2009). Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hoffmann, S., S. Evert, N. Smith, D. Lee and Y. Berglund-Prytz. (2008). Corpus Linguistics with BNCweb – a Practical Guide. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Agneta Svalberg

Agneta Svalberg is currently researching:
- engagement with language (the creation and enhancement of conscious knowledge about language)
- the learning and teaching of English tense-aspect-modality

She is a trustee and board member of the Association for Language Awareness and has published widely on topics related to Language Awareness. She is particularly interested in research from a Complex Dynamic Systems perspective.

Agneta supervises Doctoral theses in areas related to Language Awareness, second language learning, grammar teaching and learning, grammar use, and academic writing.

Selected Publications

Finkbeiner, C. & Svalberg, A. M-L. (Eds.) (2015). Language Awareness; Awareness Matters – Language, Culture, Literacy. London: Routledge.
Svalberg, A. M-L. and Askham, J. (2015). A dynamic perspective on student language teachers’ different learning pathways in a collaborative context. In King, J. (Ed.) The dynamic interplay between context and the language learner. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.172-193.
Svalberg, A. M. L. (2016) The Eric Hawkins Lecture - Language Awareness research: where we are now. Special Issue. Language Awareness: Achievements & Challenges. Language Awareness. 25(1), 1-13.
Svalberg, A. M. L. (2015). Understanding the Complex Processes in Developing Student Teachers’ Knowledge About Grammar. In Kubanyiova, M. and Feryok, A. (eds) Special Issue on Language Teacher Cognition in Applied Linguistics Research: Revisiting the Territory, Redrawing the Boundaries, Reclaiming the Relevance. Modern Language Journal. 99(3), 529–545.

Postgraduate Courses

We offer a range of courses accredited at Masters level and welcome applications from candidates who wish to pursue doctoral research in any aspect of Applied Linguistics and TESOL.

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