Faculty of Education and Language Studies
I joined the OU in September 2007. My role in OpenELT is to create and deliver language and professional development programmes for English language teachers, as well as discipline-specific English language and literacy development programmes.
I am currently co-chair of the course L185 English for Academic Purposes Online and on the course team for LB160, Professional Communication Skills for Business Studies. I also work the English in Action project in Bangladesh, which is delivering teacher training and learning materials using a diverse range of information and communications technologies (http://eiabd.com).
From 1998-2007 I was a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes in the Language Centre of the Free University of Berlin.
From 1995-1997 I was a freelance English teacher in various companies, private language institutes and secondary schools in Seoul, Korea.
For my PhD, I carried out sociolinguistic research analyzing the role of English in the lives of university students. My thesis, Globalization, English and the German University Classroom, includes a theoretical overview of globalization and the spread of English as well as a qualitative analysis of students’ uses of and attitudes towards English.
As a specialist in teaching writing across the curriculum, I am interested that student writers develop both subject and language expertise. But as I am aware of the global hegemony of English as an academic language, I also intend to promote awareness of the social concerns involved in teaching dominant languages. One continuing aim of my work is to develop materials that can be used to provide students with English as an additional language with the resources to convey their own identity in English while also promoting agency and the critical skills to negotiate (and potentially resist) norms of the standard language.
Language policy: I have examined the increasing use of English in higher education across Europe and how English is increasingly being used as a gatekeeper to higher education. I am also interested in the role of English in language education policies in developing countries.
World Englishes: I have looked into the increasing use of English in the European Union, particularly in Germany, and what this means for English language teaching professionals who are teaching students who are increasingly asserting ownership over English. Part of this research also examines the phenomenon of writer's blogging in English as an additional language.
Language and identity: My research takes account of the role of identity in the acquisition of additional languages and investigates how European speakers of English identify with the English language. The results of my studies show that a growing number of English language speakers do not necessarily idenitify with English-speaking countries.
English as a lingua franca: I am also interested in the changing norms of English and what this means for English language educators in these contexts. Where should they use their red pens?
In 2008, I led an OU research project that investigated whether language use is a factor in the gap in performance between ethnic minority students and White students at the Open University. This involved textual analysis of students' assignments as well as investigating students' motivations and practices through interviews. The results are being written up for wider dissemination and publication.
In 2011, I was principal investigator on the British Council ELTRP research project English as a language for international development in rural Bangladesh.