Applied Linguistics research in the Department of English and Language Studies falls into two broad areas:
- International English language education
- Intercultural communication
International English language education research
This area of research addresses professional issues arising from the teaching of English to speakers of other languages in diverse settings both in Britain and across the world. It is rooted in our experience of a wide range of (a) teachers who come to our department for training and professional development for certificate, diploma, bachelor, masters and doctoral qualifications, (b) students who come to learn English, and (c) educational settings in which we have worked as curriculum developers and advisors. This research also directly informs our teaching, teacher education and curriculum development activities. Examples are language learner identities in secondary schools in Japan, teacher perceptions of the classroom in secondary schools in Kerala, the knowledge and skills of state teachers working with immigrant language learners in Britain, the cultural identity of primary school pupils in China, plus work with teachers in Palestine, Eritrea, Spain, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Yemen, Italy.
Particular research interests concern the cultural politics of English in the world (the impact of centre ideologies on teacher status and identity and on curriculum content, links with cultural imperialism and neo-racism), issues of bi/multilingualism, identity and culture related to teaching immigrants in Britain, the ways teachers and learners interact to promote a supportive and engaging learning environment, the role of drama in the language classroom. Details can be found in individual staff profiles.
A new and growing area is intercultural communication studies. Staff in the Department have succeeded in forging a widely accepted reputation in developing a revolutionary approach in the field which is marked by non-essentialist, critical cosmopolitan visions of culture. This research is also rooted in the professionalism of intercultural training, and interconnected with the cultural politics of English language education. There are also links with the internationalisation agenda in British higher education.
A major focus of research in applied linguistics is through doctoral studies. The programme has attracted experienced professionals from China, Hong Kong, Uganda, the US, Japan, South Korea, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, as well as the EU and Britain. Most are university employees and many gain better academic posts on graduation. We have seen particular success during the 2000s, with a significant group of completions funded by universities or supported by the British Council in Mexico, and supported by annual seminars at the University of Guanajuato.
Critical qualitative research
Our applied linguistics research tends to employ qualitative studies marked by critical, postmodern approaches and critical discourse analysis. This has enabled both staff and student projects to address hidden discourses of power in classroom, school, and professional settings.
The Annual Cutting Edges Conference
Since 2004, the Department has held an annual international conference which has attracted researchers from key applied linguistics departments across the world. Its keynote speakers have been established leaders in the field, from the US, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Hong Kong.
For further information about these projects and more, please visit the English and Language Studies web pages.