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Research Clusters


Based partly on two past large-scale research projects, involving construction of the British Academic Spoken English (BASE) Corpus and the British Academic Written English (BAWE) Corpus, we have developed a number of academic English resources for use by teachers and learners. We also have a long tradition of expertise in language testing for academic purposes, and a current project (funded by ETS TOEFL) seeks to investigate the predictive validity of TOEFL iBT® scores and their use in informing university policy. Partly with a view to showcasing our work in the field of language assessment (including innovative work in the area of assessing intercultural competence), we hosted the 11th European Association for Language Testing and Asessment (EALTA) conference (edit link) from 29 May to 1 June 2014. Our research under this theme links closely with research into academic discourse undertaken by members of the PAD research group.

Language teacher education and development

This year (2015) we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our open access, peer-reviewed journal English Language Teacher Education and Development (ELTED). The journal is targeted at – and open to contributions from -- all those involved in English language teacher education and development worldwide. In recent years, LLTA members have been extending ideas on action research and teacher-learner autonomy developed within our own MA programmes into innovative professional development activities with teachers in Cameroon, Chile and Nepal.

Innovative Methodologies

LLTA staff members have played leading roles in the learner autonomy movement (edit link), and equally in the fields of language learner motivation research and research into English for Young Learners (the approaches we have developed for researching English learning by children were recently acknowledged as "groundbreaking" in a state-of-the art survey in ELT Journal). We are also well-known for our innovative work in the field of history of ELT and applied linguistics. One current research project (‘Towards a History of Modern Foreign Language Teaching and Learning’) aims to generate interest in historical research into language teaching in general, while another (‘Documenting British Council involvement with ELT (1934-2014)’) will contribute to the evaluation, from historical perspectives, of ELT projects worldwide. We are also at present developing new tools and approaches for the qualitative evaluation of teacher training interventions.

English in International Development

This is an emerging area of priority for us, but we have for several years served as the academic hub for a research network on issues in Teaching English in Large Classes and other Difficult Circumstances with a focus on developing country contexts. Research students from countries ranging from Cameroon to Syria and Thailand have been active in this area, and several have contributed to freely available research-based teacher training materials. Recently, we have developed important links in particular with universities in India, and are cooperating with them on a Survey of Indian ELT Research (EFL-University, Hyderabad) and a project engaging teachers and children as co-researchers in large primary classes (with Delhi University).