Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)

Two women studying and speaking

TESOL research

Explore our work in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) – one of our areas of expertise in Linguistics

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, or how material can be designed to best support learning.

Our work and findings 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, we use a variety of research methods.

As TESOL research involves contextually-dependent and nuanced behaviour, qualitative research – 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.

Project highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

TESOL is 1 of our 6 areas of expertise within our Linguistics research area. Explore the others below.

Research groups

We're researching what happens as speakers and writers cross the boundaries of language systems or transgress the rules within them.

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.