UTS site search

Dr Ross Forman


Ross Forman is a senior lecturer in the Language Studies Group. He has been involved with TESOL/Applied Linguistics for the past 25 years, and has worked as a teacher and trainer in Australia, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

In 2005, Ross’s Ph D thesis received an award of excellence from the New South Wales Institute for Educational Research. His teaching was recognised by a UTS Teaching and Learning Award in 2008, and an Australian Teaching and Learning Council citation for excellence in 2009.

Image of Ross Forman
Senior Lecturer, Adult Learning and Applied Linguistics Program
BA (Hons) (Exeter), GradDipEd (SCAE), Grad Dip, MA (Syd), Ph D (UTS)
+61 2 9514 3869

Research Interests

TESOL curriculum
Bilingual EFL pedagogy
Phonology and Pronunciation

TESOL Curriculum and Methodology
Phonology and Pronunciation
Language Development
Research Perspectives


Forman, S.R. 2016, First and Second Language Use in Asian EFL, Multilingual Matters, Bristol.
Many Asian education systems discourage or even ban the use of L1 in L2 classrooms – although in fact L1 remains widely used by teachers. Why is L1 use still devalued in this context? By observing classes and interviewing teachers, this book explores three dimensions of L1 use in L2 teaching:* pedagogy: what teachers actually do, and what they say about it* the personal: what happens to identity when we 'perform' a foreign tongue* the professional: how textbooks are used, and what is distinctive about the EFL domain
Forman, S.R., Satewerawat, J. & Kelly, S. 2001, Graduate Certificate in TESOL: trainers' books and teachers' books, University of Technology, Sydney with Ministry of Education, Laos, Vientiane, Laos.
Forman, S.R. 1985, English-Cambodian Dicctionary, Cleveland Street Intensive Language and Reception Centre, Sydney.
Forman, S.R. 1985, English-Vietnamese Dictionary, Cleveland Street Intensive English and Reception Centre, Sydney.
Forman, S.R. 1985, English-Arabic Dictionary, Cleveland Street Intensive English and Reception Centre, Sydney.


Forman, S.R. 2010, 'Ten Principles of Bilingual Pedagogy in EFL' in Ahmar Mahboob (ed), The NNEST Lens: Non Native English Speakers in TESOL, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, pp. 54-86.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Probably the greatest single resource enjoyed by a majority of NNES teachers who work in EFL contexts is the sharing of a common language between teacher and students. And yet it is this singularly powerful part of the NNEST lens which is devalued or denied by mainstream ELT in favour of monolingualist methodologies. Consequently, there exist only a few studies which document how Ll is actually used in EFL classrooms, or which seek to explore underlying principles of such practices. Ustiinel and Seedhouse have called for investigation into "how pedagogical focus and language choice are related in the teaching of other languages and in different teaching/learning contexts" (2005, p. 322).


Forman, S.R. 2007, 'Use Thai to teach English? ...' I find it alien to do otherwise'', Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, Wollongong, NSW.
Forman, S.R. 2006, 'Using L1 to teach L2', Australian National TESOL Conference, Sydney.
Forman, S.R. 2007, 'The intonation of English', Lao TESOL Conference, Vientiane, Laos.
Forman, S.R. 1999, 'The management of education in development: a case study in Laos', Education for Sustainable Development: Getting it Right, Education for Sustainable Development: Getting it Right, Australian Development Studies Network, Canberra, pp. 181-185.
Forman, S.R. 1999, 'Monolingual and bilingual TESOL teaching: differing positions of knowledge and empathy', RELC Seminar: Language in the Global Context: Implications for the Language Classroom, Singapore.
Forman, S.R. 1996, 'The early English language development of a Chinese-Vietnamese migrant', 23rd International Systemic-Functional Linguistics Conference, Sydney.
Forman, S.R. 1994, 'Australia in Laos: in-country delivery of university programs', Teaching for development: an international review of Australian formal and non-formal education for Asia and the Pacific, Teaching for Development, Australian Development Studies Network, Canberra, pp. 98-104.

Journal articles

Forman, S.R. 2015, 'Becoming an L2 Learner (again): How a brief language learning experience sparked connections with SLA theory', Language Teaching Research, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 108-122.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Forman, S.R. 2015, 'When EFL teachers perform L2 and L1 in the classroom, what happens to their sense of self', TESL-EJ: The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, vol. 19, no. 2.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
We often hear from speakers of L2 that they 'feel different' when communicating through the medium of an additional language. While there has been much exploration of L2- mediated identity development in naturalistic settings, there is very little conducted within the instructed learning environment of EFL. The present study explores how nine teachers of English in Thailand (eight Thai and one Anglo-Australian) perceived their classroom performance of both first and second language. Through observation and interview, the study finds that teachers perceived that their classroom roles differed markedly according to whether they spoke in L1 or L2, and that what was opened up or closed down by L2 was influenced by a teacher's personal experience, as well as by their perception of a particular language's structure and its discursive status in the world.
Forman, S.R. 2014, 'Speaking L2 in EFL classes: performance, identity and alterity', Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 99-115.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
When teachers and students use L2 in Expanding Circle, Asian EFL classes, what kind of interpersonal roles do they perform, and what does this mean for the development of L2-mediated identity? The notion of alterity, or otherness, is used here to analyse the extent to which identity work occurs in EFL classes located in a Thai university context. Ten such classes are observed, and nine teachers interviewed. Analysis of lessons revealed little performance of L2-mediated identity, and teachers indicated that while they valued L2 for communication in class, they often saw such use as artificial or inauthentic. It is proposed that if teachers can reflect upon the L2 interpersonal roles which they perform, they will be better able to support learners journey into another language and culture.
Forman, S.R. 2014, 'How local teachers respond to the culture and language of a global English as a foreign language textbook', Language, Culture and Curriculum, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 72-88.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
The global textbook has an enormous influence upon what is taught in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms. As Akbari has noted, our era is not simply `postmethod, but one of `textbook-defined practice. What happens, then, when a global EFL textbook is selected for use with Year 1 students at a Thai university? How appropriate is the content; and how do local teachers respond? To date, while there has been considerable analysis of the content of textbooks, there is surprisingly little exploration of how teachers deal with such texts. The present study investigates three teachers practices through lesson observation and interview. It finds that the prescribed textbook in this instance proved to be misleading in several ways: in its cultural assumptions or discourses; in its lexical accuracy or semantics; and in its presentation of decontextualised grammar. Local teachers reported that they were unsettled by this experience, but were observed to offer little resistance, except to distance themselves and their students from the text.
Forman, S.R. 2012, 'Six Functions of Bilingual EFL Teacher Talk: Animating, Translating, Explaining, Creating, Prompting and Dialoguing', RELC Journal, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 239-253.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
`Teacher talk, which remains a primary feature of much education, plays a crucial role in EFL contexts where exposure to the L2 is often confined to the language classroom, and where local teachers generally share L1 with their students. The present study explores fresh ways of describing the major pedagogic functions of teacher talk across both L1 and L2 in such environments. It seeks to establish broad descriptive categories which can be directly applied by teachers and teacher-educators to the analysis of bilingual classroom practices.
Forman, S.R. 2011, 'Review of: 'Phonetics for phonics: Underpinning knowledge for adult literacy practitioners'', Literacy and Numeracy Studies, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 85-86.
Forman, S.R. 2011, 'Humorous Language Play in a Thai EFL Classroom', Applied Linguistics, vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 541-566.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The relationship between creativity, play, and language learning has been of increasing interest over the past decade, but the role of humour itself in SLL remains significantly under-explored. The present study examines humorous language play initiated by a bilingual EFL teacher and taken up by his post-beginner students in a Thai university setting. A framework of verbal art is adopted in order to locate this use of humour in relation to both language play and to creativity more broadly. Textual analysis draws upon the psychological notion of incongruity, as well as upon Bakhtins `carnival. The verbal humour observed in this class is identified as having two foci: linguistic, relating to word-play, and discursive, relating to social positioning. For students, benefits to learning are recorded in affective, sociocultural and linguistic dimensions. In consideration of the teachers role, it is suggested that the capacity of humour to `unsettle requires careful handling.
Docherty, P.T., Tse, H.P., Forman, S.R. & McKenzie, J.A. 2010, 'Extending the principles of intensive writing to large macroeconomics classes', Journal of Economic Education, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 370-382.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The authors report on the design and implementation of a pilot program to extend the principles of intensive writing outlined by W. Lee Hansen (1998), Murray S. Simpson and Shireen E. Carroll (1999) and David Carless (2006) to large macroeconomics classes. The key aspect of this program was its collaborative nature, with staff from two specialist units joining forces with two economics instructors to provide students with significant resources and direction in a short program of writing, embedded within an intermediate macroeconomics subject at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). The objective was to test potential strategies and to identify points of improvement for a more intensive program of writing development at the next stage of implementation. The authors review the literature on student writing and associated assessment issues, outline the central design features of the UTS program, and take a closer look at the centerpiece of a strategy for overcoming writing problems: a series of writing workshops targeted at two related assignments within the intermediate macroeconomics course.
Forman, S.R. 2009, 'Review of Halliday, M. A. K. and Greaves, W. (2008) "Intonation in the Grammar of English"', Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 1-4.
Forman, S.R. 2008, 'Using notions of scaffolding and intertextuality to understand the bilingual teaching of Engish in Thailand', Linguistics and Education, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 319-332.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Forman, S.R. 2007, 'Bilingual teaching in the Thai EFL context: one teacher's practice', TESOL in Context, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 19-24.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Docherty, P.T., Tse, H.P., Forman, S.R. & Menzies, G.D. 2006, 'Reducing the expectations gap: Facilitating improved student writing in an intermediate macroeconomics course (F&E paper #150)'.
Forman, S.R. 2004, 'Accounts of school in Vietnam and Australia: An Analysis of L2 writing development', Prospect, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 39-53.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper examines two pieces of writing in English by a high school student from a ChineseVietnamese background. The texts were produced after approximately one, and then two, years residence in Australia. An analysis was conducted following the meaning-based grammar of Halliday. A significant development of the students second language (L2) writing from one text to the next was found, particularly in his representation of experience and in fulfilment of the task itself. There were some areas where the students writing had not progressed, and others areas where avoidance of problematic grammatical forms was apparent.
Selected Peer-Assessed Projects