School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Professor Steve Walsh

Professor of Applied Linguistics



I joined ECLS in March 2007 from Queen's University Belfast where I had been working for almost 10 years. Most of my working life has been spent abroad, working as an English language teacher and teacher educator in Spain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and China. I am committed to teacher education, especially second language teacher education, and enjoy working with teachers to develop a closer understanding of teaching and learning in all contexts.

Roles and Responsibilities

Professor of Applied Linguistics 

Director, Pro-Com research group

Editor: Studies in Social Interaction, EUP

Module leader Research Methods, Discourse Analysis, and Reflective Practice and Second Language Teacher Development


BA (Hons) French and Management Studies
PGCE (French and German)
MA in Linguistics and English language Teaching
RSA Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults
PhD in Applied Linguistics

Previous Positions

Lecturer in Education, Queen's Unviersity Belfast (QUB) (2002-2007)
Head of TEFL Centre and Lecturer In TEFL, QUB (1997-2002)
Lecturer in TEFL, University College Cork, Ireland (1994-1997)
Outreach Training Co-ordinator, Joszef Attila University, Hungary (1992-1994)
Lecturer in English, Sir Robert Balck College of Education, Hong Kong (1989-1992)


British Association of Applied Linguistics
International Association for Teaching English as a Foreign Language
British Educational Research Association


French, German, Spanish
A little cantonese and Hungarian!

Informal Interests

Cycling, walking, travel.


Research Interests

I am interested in all aspects of classroom discourse, especially the relationship between 'talk' and learning. In addition to describing the interaction which takes place in a range of contexts, I am interested in developing interactional awareness among both teachers and learners.

Other Expertise

Second language teacher education
Action research and critical reflective practice
Professional discourse
Analyzing spoken and written discourse

Current Work

I am working on a large (1m words) corpus of spoken academic discourse NUCASE: Newcastle University Corpus of Academic Spoken English. This corpus will be analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies (Conversation Analysis with Corpus Linguistics) to uncover the complex relationships between language, interaction and learning in a HE context. The research undertaken at Newcastle University will contribute to the ‘re-profiling’ of descriptors which are currently being used in language testing around the world and result in the employment of ‘interactional competence’ as a new element in the assessment of speaking in international language tests. The data will also be used to enhance learning and teaching at the University.

Other projects planned or in preparation include:

- Whose English, Which English (2)? This project is the second (funded) part of a  pilot project    which looked at the varieties of English used by learners and teachers around the world. The second part of the project will be used to ascertain teacher attitudes towards English as a Lingua Franca.

Following the successful funded research project (2005) in a healthcare context, I aim to look at the ways in which doctors-in-training communicate with their patients.This project will address the question of how a closer understanding of doctor-patient interaction can result in better case-history taking and, ultimately, in better diagnosing of illnesses.

A project (with Knight, Newcastle University) looking at the ways in which mobile technology can be used to help university students with their course-work. The project ‘M-Learning in the Wild’ will consider the ways in which mobile technology can be used outside the classroom (‘in the wild’) to promote discussion, engagement and evaluation of written work by students.

Research Roles

Member of CfLAT (Centre for Research in Learning and Teaching)research centre
Member of CRILLS (Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences) management team.
Member of IVACS (Inter-varietal applied corpus studies) research centre with the Universities of Limerick, Nottingham and Hong Kong.

Postgraduate Supervision

I am presentely supervising 12 students who are looking at a number of issues relating to spoken and written discourse, including: discussion skills in university seminars, interpersonal awareness in EFL classrooms, developing conversation skills in EAL contexts, academic discourse in Saudi universities, word-searches in Taiwanese schools.

Esteem Indicators

External examining
1999-2006, Examiner, examiner trainer and senior examiner for IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination.
University of Leeds, BA in TESOL (Oman), 2003-present.
University of Leeds, MA in TESOL (China), 2002-present.
Dundalk Institute of Technology, BA in Business Studies with English, 2001-present.
University of Limerick, MA in English Language Teaching, 2006- present.
University of Nottingham, MA in English Language Teaching, 2007.


- TATE: Teaching and Teacher Education (reviewer)
- The Linguistics Journal (Associate Editor)
- Applied Linguistics (reviewer)

Invited talks
Invited plenary speaker, University of Seoul, Korea, 25.05.07, ‘Globalisation: promoting equality or perpetuating inequality’.

Invited speaker presentation, University of Bristol, research seminar series, 02.05.07, ‘New approaches to investigating classroom interaction’.

Invited speaker presentation, Leeds Metropolitan University research seminar series, 21.02.07: ‘SETT: self-evaluation of teacher talk’.

Invited speaker presentation, International conference on higher education, European Public Law Center, Athens, Greece, 10.02.06: ‘New approaches to learning in higher education in the U.K’.

Invited speaker presentation, University of Shenzhen (China) research seminar, 13.03.06: ‘Task-based language learning: a context-base approach’.

Invited speaker presentation, University College Cork, Ireland, Second Language Learning in Foreign and Immersion Language Classrooms (one-day conference), 08.04.06: ‘Developing interactional awareness in the second language classroom’.

Invited speaker presentation, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland, 23.11.05: ‘Text and tape-based approaches to new language’,

Invited speaker presentation: University of Limerick, 23.04.05: ‘Investigating Classroom Discourse’.


McKendry, E., Walsh, S. et al ‘CRAMLAP: Celtic Regional and Minority Languages Project’, 160,000 euro, EU-funded, February 2004.

Walsh, S., ‘Enhancing interactional awareness to promote active learning’ (submitted to QUB TQEF (Teaching Quality and Enhancement Fund), £5,000, June 2004.

Walsh, S. and Winter, E., ‘Critical reflective practice in initial teacher education: a comparative study’, British Academy, £6,650 awarded, January 2005.

Morison, S., Walsh, S. ‘Centre for excellence in inter-professional education (CEIPE)’. HEA-funded initiative to support and enhance university teaching, learning and assessment, £1.2m over 5 years, May 2005.

Industrial Relevance

My work has relevance for any organisation seeking to better understand the 'talk-in-interaction' of the workplace and/or to help staff and colleagues communicate more effectively.


Postgraduate Teaching

I am the module leader for ALT8104 'Teacher Development for TESOL' and ALT8103 'Learning and Teaching in Higher Education'. I also lead 'Discourse Analysis for English language Teachers' and contribute to ALT8001 'Research Methods in Applied Linguistics'.

I supervise M-Level and Doctoral students and am especially interested in supervising students interested in teacher development, second language teacher education and classroom discourse. I am also interested in projects using conversation analysis and discourse analysis as methodologies.