Two women studying and speaking

TESOL research

We're exploring the learning of English as a second language

Governments around the world see the English language skills of their citizens as a key driver of economic and social development – and our research into Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) aims to understand how people learn languages (particularly English), and how classroom practices and learner and practitioner beliefs affect how people learn.

We're also looking at the impact of learners and teachers sharing the same beliefs about the efficacy of error correction, how teachers' beliefs develop, and how material can be designed to best support learning.

Our work and findings in TESOL have been published in leading academic journals in the field – such as ELT (English Language Teaching) Journal, TESOL Quarterly, Language Learning, and Language Teaching.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Language teaching methodology
  • Language teacher education
  • Learner needs
  • English for specific purposes
  • Language teaching materials design


Within our research into TESOL, we use a variety of research methods. As TESOL research involves contextually-dependent and nuanced behaviour, qualitative research methods – including interviews, classroom observations, and reflective journals – are frequently used.

We also draw on quantitative experiments of our own, and analyse findings and quantitative data from experiments in related disciplines, such as second language acquisition (SLA), and find ways to apply it in contextually-sensitive ways.

Publication highlights

Our members

Gulsah Kutuk Portrait

Dr Gulsah Kutuk


PhD Supervisor

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Peter Aaron Watkins Portrait

Dr Peter Watkins

Principal Lecturer

School of Education, Languages and Linguistics

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

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Discover our areas of expertise

TESOL is one of our six areas of expertise within our Linguistics research area. Explore the others below.

Corpus linguistics

We're looking at huge datasets of natural language – often many billions of words – to explore how language is used in different regions, genres and situations.

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We're exploring how texts are translated and the practices around the translation of texts, including professional training, the use of technologies, and non-professional translation communities.

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Discourse analysis

We're researching how ideas, concepts and people are represented through language, and exploring how language is used in real-life contexts.

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Professional communication

Our research in professional communication explores how spoken and written language is used in workplaces to develop relationships and achieve institutional objectives.

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Through our work in sociolinguistics, we're studying the ways in which language can affect, and is affected, by social phenomena.

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Interested in a PhD in Languages and Linguistics?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Languages and Linguistics postgraduate research degrees page.