Professor Paul Seedhouse
Professor of Educational and Applied Linguistics

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8873
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 6546
  • Address: Room 3.01
    King George VI Building
    School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
    Newcastle University
    Queen Victoria Road
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU

Roles and Responsibilities

REF Coordinator for Applied Linguistics

Member of University Senate 

ECLS Director, iLAB:Learn
DPD MA Applied Linguistics Research
Chair IPhD Board of Examiners


Academic Qualifications

1979 University of Durham. BA(Honours)Class 2:1,German(French subsid.)
1992 University of Aston. MSc in Teaching English.
1996 University of York D Phil. Title of thesis: ‘Learning Talk: a Study of the Interactional Organisation of the L2 Classroom from a CA Institutional Discourse Perspective.’

Professional Qualifications

1983 International House London. RSA Cert TEFL
1984 Durham University School of Education. PGCE
1989 Centre for British Teachers, Brunei. RSA Dip TEFL


I am a member of the British Association of Applied Linguistics, the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society and the British Science Association.

Research Interests

The knowledge which is created by my research is of how people communicate in professional settings. I portray spoken interaction as a complex, holistic, adaptive system. Specifically, I uncover how the organisation of interaction in an institutional setting is related to the institutional goals. Close examination of the detail of the interaction can reveal issues and problems which can then be tackled through policy or training. 

To get free electronic access to a number of my publications, please go to

 My Google Scholar page is    

Current Work

I am currently working on the EU-funded research project: Learning languages, cultures and cuisines in digital interactive kitchens - see below for details as well as the website

 I am also working on a project on the IELTS Speaking Test:  Candidates Questioning Examiners in the IELTS Speaking Test: An Intervention Study, funded by British Council/IELTS.

Research Roles

REF Coordinator for Applied Linguistics for the 2013 exercise.

Editorial Board member for the journals:  Language Teaching, Classroom Discourse, English Profile Journal, Novitas Royal, Bellaterra, ARECLS.

Co-editor, Edinburgh University Press Book Series 'Studies in Social Interaction'. 

 ECLS Director, iLAB:Learn 

Postgraduate Supervision

PhD students who have completed are Ghaleb Rababah, Jim Ackers, Aboubaker El-Aswad, Eda Ustunel, Chris Jenks, Navaporn Sanprasert, Kitcha Thepsiri, Buthayna Al-Garawi, Hanan Waer, Olcay Sert, Chen-Ying Li,Saad Al-Mutairi and Andy Harris.
I am currently supervising: Hiromi Mitani, Chanidapa Sookcharoen, Li-Ting Cheng, Ming-Fen Lo, Sumita Supakorn, Khansaa Martakush, Cihat Atar, Dorine Lugendo, Nor Ishak, Aki Imuro.

Esteem Indicators

The Modern Language Association of America awarded me its twenty-fifth annual Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize in 2005 for my book The Interactional Architecture of the Language Classroom: A Conversation Analysis Perspective. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy, or literature with strong application to the teaching of languages other than English. The book was also shortlisted for the British Association for Applied Linguistics Book Prize 2005.

The book Conceptualising Learning in Applied Linguistics, for which I was first editor, was runner-up in the  British Association for Applied Linguistics Book Prize 2011.

The French Digital Kitchen project won the 2012 European Language Label prize.  

I have given invited plenary talks at conferences in Denmark, UK, Italy, Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Finland, Thailand and Malaysia.
I am currently external examiner for:
University of Edinburgh MSc Applied Linguistics
University of Lancaster MA TESOL and MA TEFL.
I have been external examiner for 11 UK doctorates as well as for theses in Australia, Finland, Spain and Switzerland.
Expert list member, EU Comenius and Erasmus programmes.


 I currently have 2 funded projects:

1) A grant of £30,000 from the British Council for research on : ‘Candidates Questioning Examiners in the IELTS Speaking Test: An Intervention Study’.  

This study aims to evaluate the effect of an intervention, namely an additional component in the Speaking Test. This is a very short section in which the candidate has to ask questions on a topic to the examiner, who will reply. Asking questions is a necessary skill for university students and may or may not give raters useful additional data.  The outcome will be an evaluation of whether candidate-led question-answer sequences are in fact produced and whether value is added or not.

This is the fourth grant I have received for researching the IELT Speaking Test  IELTS Tests are currently taken by over 2.5 million people each year.

2. Learning languages, cultures and cuisines in digital interactive kitchens

This project received a grant of €400,000 from the European Union KA2 Programme and runs for 3 years from 1 December 2011. Paul Seedhouse and Patrick Olivier are lead investigators.

The project develops new materials for our existing application of technology to language learning, namely the use of embedded digital sensors (ambient intelligence)  together with a Task Based learning approach. In a previous project, we have built digital kitchens that speak to the users in French and give them step-by-step instructions on how to prepare French cuisine. Sensors (accelerometers) are attached to kitchen equipment and ingredients so when an item is correctly or incorrectly moved, participants can be given appropriate verbal feedback. Users learn targeted grammar and vocabulary items by doing the task and are post-tested on those items on a digital screen.

Students in classrooms rehearse the language, rather than carrying out actions, and it is difficult to bring foreign culture to life in the classroom. The pedagogical design of the kitchen means that learners learn European languages whilst performing a meaningful real-world task and experience the cultural aspect of learning to cook a European dish.

We propose to use the technology developed for the French digital kitchen project to produce materials for other European languages and cuisines: English, German, Spanish, Catalan, Italian and Finnish. Partner institutions develop materials for use with specific languages and cuisines, including cultural aspects. Partners are the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, the University of Helsinki, Paderborn University and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

This European Digital Kitchen project will produce a network of 7 functioning portable kitchens across Europe, each of which can teach 7 languages and cuisines. Each unit consists of a laptop with touchscreen and a set of utensils with embedded sensors.

This study targets lifelong learning, higher and vocational education and training, promoting learning of 7 languages and linguistic diversity. The study will impact on learners who use the kitchens, whilst open platform technology means that a much broader exploitation is achievable. See


Industrial Relevance

Able to record and analyse communication in institutional settings. Close analysis of details of the interaction can uncover the sources of communication problems and suggest solutions to these.

Applications of digital technology to language learning. 


Postgraduate Teaching

I am module leader for the following modules : Research Methods in Applied Linguistics , Research Methods in Applied Linguistics for Doctoral Students.  I also teach on the HASS Faculty research training programme.