BA (Hons) (Liverpool), MA (Nottingham), PhD (Nottingham), PGCE (Open), NPQH
I joined the School of Education in 2013 having previously taught Stylistics in the School of English here at Nottingham, and English Language and Linguistics at Middlesex University. Before that I worked in secondary schools in London, Kent, Northamptonshire, and Warwickshire including time in post as a head of English, director of sixth form, assistant headteacher, and deputy headteacher.
I am a member of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL), and the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) for whom I am a consultant teacher, and sit on both the post 16/higher education committee and NATE Council. I am on both the editorial and academic review boards of English in Education, and am a reviewer for the journals Language, Culture and Curriculum, and Literacy. I am Chair of Examiners for A-level English Language and Literature at a major English examination board.
I am a member of the Learning Sciences Research Institute and an associate member of the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics. I am also a member of the Committee for Linguistics in Education (CLiE), a national group of academics committed to promoting the value of language study in schools. I have acted as a external examiner at The University of Warwick.
I am a stylistician and applied linguist. My research interests cover the following areas.
I have published work using Text World Theory and Cognitive Grammar in the analysis of a range of literary fiction. My research monograph, the first book-length study of a major English poet using Text World Theory, Text World Theory and Keats' Poetry: The Cognitive Poetics of Desire, Dreams and Nightmares, was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2013. With Dr Chloe Harrison (Coventry University), I am writing a textbook on Cognitive Grammar in Stylistics (to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2018). I am also in the process of putting together a proposal for a book on iconicity and Siegfried Sassoon's 1916 war poems through the lens of Cognitive Grammar.
Applied Cognitive Linguistics
I am interested in what linguistics can offer education, and in particular the value of functional and cognitive approaches to language study in pedagogical contexts. My recent book, Teaching Grammar, Structure and Meaning: Exploring Theory and Practice for Post 16 English Language Teachers (Routledge) examines how insights from cognitive linguistics might be used in learning and teaching about linguistic form and meaning. I have also worked and published on the use of Text World Theory as a grammar for exploring the literature reading classroom and on a tool for teachers 'to think with'. I have recently co-edited with Dan Clayton a major volume on the value of linguistics to the secondary English teacher, featuring chapters written by academics and practitioners working at the interface of linguistics and education (Routledge). Dan and I are are also the series editors for the recently commissioned Cambridge Topics in English Language, which provides book-length introductions to key areas of language study for post-16 and undergraduate students.
With Dr Jessica Mason (University of Sheffield), I run the studyingfiction blog. We are interested in how literature is taught and talked about in educational contexts, the affordances and limitations of the classroom, and the ways in which texts are created, interpreted and understood by individuals and groups of readers.
Integrating Language and Literature
For several years, I have co-directed the Integrating English project with Dr Andrea Macrae (Oxford Brookes University) and Dr Billy Clark (Middlesex University). We are interested in developing more integrated approaches to the subject at all levels of education. We have published two research reports for the Higher Education Academy investigating sixth form-undergraduate transition issues in language-literature teaching as well as other position articles. We run annual summer conferences for secondary teachers, produce a blog for AQA to support their A-Level English Language and Literature specification, and act as the editorial board for Mesh, a journal for undergraduate students to showcase their work in integrated lang-lit studies.
The subject identities of English language teachers
A further research interest is the development of English teachers' identities and subject knowledge, particularly concerning:
- how teachers from predominantly literature backgrounds develop their expertise when teaching English language topics and specifications;
- and the extent to which teachers from language backgrounds continue to use current research in language and linguistics to inform their classroom practice.
A recent article exploring some of these issues can be found here.
For more information, including details of talks and presentations visit my Academia page.