Fiona English, PhD

Fiona English, PhD

International Speaker

Dr. Fiona English is Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Applied Linguistics at Institute of Education - University College London (UCL). She has been working in the field of language, communication and linguistics for many years in both research and teaching and has published books, chapters and articles reflecting her broad experience in the field. Much of her work has concerned TESOL related activity including teaching EFL/ESOL in the UK and Latin America, language teacher training, leading the EAP and Learning and Teaching Unit at the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and coordinating and teaching on the MAs in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at London Metropolitan University. She has been external examiner and consultant on several university programmes in English Language, EAP and TESOL as well as developing and delivering programmes overseas such as, a British Council summer school in Pakistan and with Tim Marr, English for Scientists in Uzbekistan.

Fiona’s expertise encompasses a number of interrelated specialisms: TESOL and language education, language testing in legal settings (forensic linguistics), academic literacies and language across the curriculum. She is currently involved in an ongoing series of workshops and seminars exploring new ways of writing at university based around her concept of ‘regenring’ and last year co-edited two special editions of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (vols 11.1 and 11.2) which showcase work in that area. She has authored three books: the monograph on the affordances of genres, Student Writing and Genre: Reconfiguring academic knowledge. (2011), and two books (with Tim Marr) which focus on promoting linguistics as a core field of social and educational relevance to understanding how real world interactions work (Why Do Linguistics? Reflective linguistics and the study of language. (2015) and Rethinking TESOL in Diverse Settings: The language and the teacher in a time of change. (2019) all published by Bloomsbury.


Rethinking TESOL in Diverse Global Settings

About Rethinking TESOL in Diverse Global Settings

What do TESOL teachers actually teach? What do they know about language, about English and the ways it is used in the world? How do they view themselves and their work, and how are they viewed by others? How is TESOL perceived as a profession and as a discipline? How can teachers make the most of the available resources? Can global English really deliver what it seems to promise? These are some of the questions explored in Rethinking TESOL in Diverse Global Settings, a book which examines what we mean when we talk about English language teaching and what we understand the job of an English language teacher to be.

Covering diverse teaching environments, from China to Latin America and the Middle East, and from elementary school to university, the authors take a critical look at TESOL by focusing on the actual substance of the subject, language, and attitudes towards it. Through concrete examples from language classrooms, in the form of vignettes and accounts from native speaker and non-native speaker teachers alike, they explore the experiences of teachers worldwide in relation to issues of identity and professionalism, nativeness and non-nativeness, and the pressures of dealing with the expectations with which English has become invested. While recognising the often precarious academic and institutional status of TESOL teachers, the book pulls no punches in challenging those teachers as a whole to become more ambitious in their aims, positioning themselves not as mere skills providers, but language experts, specialists in their subject, members of a legitimate academic discipline. Only then, the authors argue, will TESOL teachers and their work be taken seriously and their expertise recognised.

Why Do Linguistics?

About Why Do Linguistics?

What do we need to know about language and why do we need to know it? This book shows how viewing the world through a linguistics lens can help us to understand how we communicate with each other and why we do it in the ways we do. Above all this book is about noticing. It is about encouraging readers to pay attention to the language that surrounds them.

The book addresses fundamental linguistic questions such as: Where do people's beliefs about language come from? Who decides what language we should speak? How do we choose the best way to express what we mean? It introduces a set of practical tools for language analysis and, using examples of authentic communicative activity including overheard conversations, Facebook posts and public announcements, shows how this kind of analysis works and what it can tell us about social interaction.

Exploring language and language use from a social, intercultural and multilingual perspective, the authors demonstrate the relevance of linguistics in understanding day-to-day interaction. This book will help readers not only to become informed, active observers of language for its own sake, but also to be able to take on and challenge some of the misconceptions, assumptions and prejudices that so often underlie public discussion of language issues.

Sketches from a Pandemic

What I aim to do in this talk is take us back through some of the experiences of the last two years in a reflection on some of the ways in which the pandemic has kept us apart but at the same time brought us together. As I move through the talk, I will use examples from different sources that illustrate these paradoxical phenomena, some very familiar to you and some that may not be. Using a story-telling approach, my aim is for us to reflect on the ways in which we have navigated our way through these times and how we have dealt with the restrictions to our daily routines. Has it all been bad, or have we gained as much as we have lost? I hope that this will open up contributions from participants who might share their own thoughts on living through this extraordinary time.