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Warwick ELT Archive: Research Projects

Proposals are welcome from candidates interested in undertaking doctoral research at Warwick into some aspect of the history of ELT / history of language teaching / history of applied linguistics in the UK or elsewhere. Enquiries from anyone else interested in investigating aspects of the history of ELT / history of language teaching / history of applied linguistics are also very welcome. Contact Dr Richard Smith ( in the first instance.

  • Documenting the History of British Council Involvement with ELT, 1934-2014. This project follows on from the 2010-11 project ‘Building an Archive and a Record of British Council Involvement with ELT, 1934-2009. The following outputs will contribute to the celebration of 80 years of British Council involvement in ELT in 2014: A briefing document on the history of British Council involvement in ELT (1934-2014), to serve as a basis for online infographics; Enhancement of the ‘Milestones in ELT’ section of the TeachingEnglish website; Manuscript of a printed book and pdf publication, taking the form of a bibliography (and filmography) with commentary.
  • Towards a History of Modern Foreign Language Teaching and Learning (MFLTL). Led by Dr Nicola McLelland (Nottingham) and Dr Richard Smith (Warwick), this is a research network project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (15 July 2012 - 14 July 2014; AH/J012475/1 / RGS105262). The project aims to generate interest in historical research into language teaching in the UK and to contribute to the establishment of a European network of researchers.
  • For 2010-11 we were granted £10,000 by The British Council (with a later supplement of £5,000) for a project entitled Building an archive and a record of the history of British Council involvement with ELT, 1934­-2009. This project, led by Richard Smith, aimed to systematically increase the stock of knowledge relating to the British Council's involvement with ELT since its foundation.
  • At the end of 2008 we were granted £10,000 by The British Council for a project entitled An Archive and Record of UK-funded ELT Projects, 1950 Onwards. The project, led by Richard Smith and Shelagh Rixon, aimed to systematically increase the stock of knowledge relating to UK-supported ELT projects undertaken in different parts of the world since the 1950s. We did this by building an archive of reports and other documents and by constructing an inventory/chronology, and a bibliography, on this basis. The project, which significantly enhanced the Archive infrastructure (catalogues etc.), was completed at the end of 2009.
  • In May 2008 Rajneesh Arora and Richard Smith initiated a project titled Post-Independence Innovation in Indian ELT. Their aim has been to identify, locate and catalogue primary and secondary sources relating to three projects supported by The British Council which attempted to bring about innovation in ELT in India: the MELT Campaign (1950s), the Bangalore Project (1980s) and CBSE-ELT (1990s).
  • In 2005 we were granted £10,000 by the A.S. Hornby Educational Trust for a project entitled Enhancement of the Warwick ELT Archive, with a particular focus on the work of A.S. Hornby. Specific outcomes of this project, which was coordinated by Richard Smith, included:A comprehensive bibliography of published writings by A.S. Hornby, including many works published in Japan; A unique and comprehensive collection of writings by A.S. Hornby, available in one place for consultation by interested researchers and Hornby scholars or alumni; A secure collection of archival materials (letters, photographs, manuscripts, typescripts, etc.) by or relating to A.S. Hornby; A collection of audio recordings by A.S. Hornby (gramophone records, tapes of lectures). We hope to add: A collection of recorded and transcribed interviews with some of those who knew and worked with A.S. Hornby.
  • In 2005 Duncan Hunter embarked on PhD research associated with the Warwick ELT Archive into Key Concepts in The Early Communicative Movement (this research was completed by mid-2009 and the PhD thesis successfully defended in December 2009). This project has attempted to identify the key concepts that emerged during the early communicative period, by combining corpus analysis with a more “traditional” historical examination of articles in the ELT Journal. Using journal articles from the Lee (1973 to 1981) and Rossner (1981 to 1986) editorial periods as a kind of “corpus”, it has been possible to identify a set of key terms, which appear to reflect something of the nature of the thematic changes that took place in the discourse of the journal. These key terms have been examined using two distinct, but related procedures. Firstly, they have been investigated using corpus procedures, such as negative keyword, concordance and collocational analysis. The discussions and arguments surrounding these terms have then been studied by following their appearance in “key” articles, where the senses and implications of the emerging terms are discussed in detail. The project has become, increasingly, an investigation not only of the period the journal articles might partially reflect, but also the changing priorities and aspirations of the ELT Journal itself. Duration: 2005-2009.
  • In 2003 Richard Smith was awarded a University of Warwick Research Development Fund grant of £4,677 towards a project entitled English Language Teaching for Speakers of Other Languages, 1900-1980: A Comprehensive Bibliography, with Identification of Key Texts and Authors. Version 1 of this bibliography is now available here as an Acrobat file.