I am a member of the Academic Language and Learning (ALL) group at UTS, within the Institute of Interactive Media and Learning. This role involves working collaboratively with academics in the Business School and Faculty of Design, Architecture and Built Environment to embed disciplinary academic literacies into the curriculum at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
My background is in Applied Linguistics and TESOL, and I have previoulsy designed, taught, coordinated and researched English language and academic literacy courses in Europe, Asia and Australia, most recently at UTS:Insearch and the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Second language learning
© 2020, © 2020 Educational Action Research. Action Research is now frequently practiced and promoted as a form of continuing professional development for language teachers, with recent studies reporting many benefits for those who engage in Action Research. Less frequently reported, but equally as important for sustainability, are the wider impacts of Action Research engagement on teachers’ colleagues, schools and educational sectors. However, to date, there has been no cohesive or holistic review of research on the various forms of development that language teacher Action Research can initiate. This conceptual paper adopts an ecological perspective as a holistic framework for analysing the dimensions of impact of Action Research. An ecological approach studies humans in terms of their relations with their environment, and analyses the affordances and constraints that interact with human development. Accordingly, this paper reviews recent literature on the impact of Action Research in terms of three levels of ecology: micro (individual), meso (school) and macro (wider educational sector) levels. The paper then advances current understandings about why and how Action Research initiates development by analysing the experiences reported, within the studies reviewed, that are unique to teacher Action Research.
Edwards, E & Ellis, NJ 2020, 'Action research remodelled in a competitive, profit-oriented sector: teachers’ and managers’ perspectives', Educational Action Research.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019, © 2019 Educational Action Research. Action research has enjoyed phenomenal growth in the field of education as a catalyst for teacher professional learning with a view to school improvement, but it is commonly remodelled across various local settings. Adopting a Schatzkian perspective, this study investigates the experiences of a range of teachers engaging in an action research program in a competitive, profit-oriented setting–the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector in Australia–to explore how action research has been prefigured and remodelled in this unique context. A qualitative case study approach was adopted and a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with teachers and managers of ELICOS centres. Results of this study indicate that the way action research is understood and practised by teachers and managers in the ELICOS sector has been shaped by the competitive, profit-oriented context in which they function, with an emphasis on ‘winning’ and gaining status through action research.
Edwards, E 2019, 'Language teacher research: Managers' perceptions of the micro, meso and macro levels of development', The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 101-119.
Language teachers conducting research is now considered an important aspect of teacher education, and also of teachers’ professional development throughout their careers. A growing number of studies in English language teaching (ELT) have explored teachers’ perceptions and experiences of research engagement. However, most of these studies focus on the micro (individual) level of teacher development, with little attention paid to the meso (institutional) and macro (broader sector) levels of development. In addition, ELT managers’ perceptions of teacher research engagement have been largely ignored, which is surprising since managers can be highly influential in encouraging and sustaining such engagement in research. This empirical study contributes to the literature by investigating how managers of English language teaching (ELT) centres in Australia perceived the impact of teachers conducting Action Research (AR) as part of a nine-month national program. Semi-structured interviews with nine managers across the country revealed four key perceptions about the positive influences of teacher AR engagement at three different levels: (1) empowering and engaging teachers professionally (micro level), (2) creating roles models for other teachers (meso level), (3) increasing the status and reputation of institutions, and (4) contributing to the professionalism of the sector (both macro level). The study offers practical implications for ELT leaders and teacher educators about the systemic benefits of encouraging teachers to engage in research.
Edwards, EC 2018, 'Embracing action research: Current tensions and possible directions', English Australia Journal, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 3-21.
This article reports on findings from a qualitative study in the English
Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) context
which explored teachers’ experiences and their managers’ perceptions
of teacher participation in the Cambridge Assessment English/English
Australia Action Research in ELICOS program. Despite previously
reported benefits for teachers’ professional development as a result
of action research participation, the study found that some current
tensions may be limiting the potential and sustainability of the English
Australia Action Research program for the development of teachers,
ELICOS centres and the sector as a whole. This article explores four
key tensions and offers some possible ways in which the tensions can
be addressed within ELICOS centres and more broadly. These tensions
and directions are also likely to be relevant to other ELT contexts in
which teachers are conducting action research.
Edwards, E & Burns, A 2016, 'Action research to support teachers’ classroom materials development', Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 106-120.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 Taylor & Francis. ABSTRACT: Language teachers constantly create, adapt and evaluate classroom materials to develop new curricula and meet their learners’ needs. It has long been argued (e.g. by Stenhouse, L. . An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. London: Heinemann) that teachers themselves, as opposed to managers or course book writers, are best placed to develop context-specific materials that effectively and affectively engage learners. However, a systematic approach is required for materials development, and one practical option is through action research. Action research enables teachers to investigate learners’ reactions to new materials, and work with them to develop engaging context-specific materials. To illustrate how action research can successfully support materials development, this paper reports on a classroom-based project the first author (Emily) conducted at her college in Australia. The project was part of an innovative national programme for the Australian English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector, initiated and facilitated by the second author (Anne) and the ELICOS peak body English Australia. An Assessment for Learning (AfL) theoretical framework was adopted to integrate lesson materials and assessment, based on learner needs. At the college, previous assessment preparation materials had been ad hoc, so Emily explored what materials would best support her learners in preparing for written assessments and feedback. Innovative classroom materials were developed in negotiation with learners, who were actively involved in the process through interviews, focus groups and surveys. Findings included improved AfL classroom materials and new self-study resources, as well as increased learner motivation. The paper concludes with analysis of the implications of using action research for materials development.
© The Author 2015. Action research (AR) is becoming increasingly popular in ELT contexts as a means of continuous professional development. The positive impacts of AR on language teacher development are well documented, but the important question of how those impacts can be sustained over time is virtually unexplored. Drawing on findings from a study of teachers in Australia, we address the question of the sustainability of the impact of AR. Data from a survey and interviews show that, between one and four years after completing an AR programme, the teachers felt more confident, connected to their students, research-engaged, and recognized by colleagues and managers. We argue that a balance of top-down institutional support and individual teacher motivation is essential in ensuring sustainability of the impact over time. Finally, we suggest how the benefits of AR can be sustained for teachers doing AR and their colleagues.
Burns, A, Freeman, D & Edwards, E 2015, 'Theorizing and Studying the Language-Teaching Mind: Mapping Research on Language Teacher Cognition', Modern Language Journal, vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 585-601.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 by The Modern Language Journal. The overarching project of the conceptual and empirical contributions in this special issue is to redraw boundaries for language teacher cognition research. Our aim in this final article is to complement the foregoing collection of articles by conceptualizing ontologically and methodologically past and current trajectories in language teacher cognition research and synthesizing various themes that arise across this body of work. To that end, we begin by first making the case for the construct under examination and posing some key questions: What is the nature of the mind that we are examining in language teacher cognition research? How have conceptualizations of that mind changed over the period that language teacher cognition research has emerged as a field of empirical study? We then consider how the mind in language teacher cognition research has been studied ontologically, and the conceptual advances that have characterized such research. We conclude by examining how studies in this collection reflect our account of these changes over time.
Edwards, EC & Roger, P 2015, 'Seeking out challenges to develop L2 self-confidence: A language learner’s journey to proficiency', TESL - EJ, vol. 18, no. 4.
As one constituent of second language (L2) motivation, L2 self-confidence has been shown to be a significant predictor of language proficiency. More recently, L2 self-confidence has been studied as part of the willingness to communicate (WTC) construct. Less is known, however, about the processes by which learners develop self-confidence in their second language. This study explored the process of L2 self-confidence development in an advanced learner of English since his arrival in Australia. Two qualitative semi-structured interviews separated by a period of two years were conducted, using the WTC model and Clément and Kruidenier’s (1985) model of the self-evaluation of proficiency as a theoretical framework. Findings highlight the important role played by the individual’s perception of control in a range of communicative settings. Results also suggest that listening comprehension skills, together with an awareness of other carriers of meaning, are central to the development of linguistic self-confidence. For this learner, a cyclical interaction between L2 self-confidence, WTC, and L2 proficiency was evident. These findings have implications for language teachers and learners, providing important insights into the way that critical events and decisions in the participant’s learning journey may contribute to the development of self-confidence.
Edwards, EC 2013, 'Applying action research to investigate the use of goal setting for ESL writing', English Australia Journal, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 19-38.
Edwards, E 2019, 'English language teachers' agency and identity mediation through action research: A Vygotskian sociocultural analysis' in Kayi-Aydar, H, Gao, XA, Miller, E, Varghese, M & Vitanova, G (eds), Theorizing and Analyzing Language Teacher Agency, Multilingual Matters, Bristol, UK, pp. 141-159.
The relationship between language teacher agency and identity is emerging as an important area of inquiry and has significant implications for the field of language teacher education. As one example of an inquiry-based approach to teacher education, action research (AR) can be an empowering force for teachers to effect democratic pedagogical improvements, but little research has examined the relationship between AR and language teacher agency. Taking a Vygotskian sociocultural perspective and an agency-centered approach to understanding teacher identity, this chapter explores ESL teachers’ agency and professional identity mediation during and after their participation in an AR program. The qualitative, longitudinal study investigated how participating in a national nine-month AR program mediated the professional identities of experienced in-service ESL teachers in Australia. A series of five in-depth interviews were conducted over 12 months with five teachers during and after their AR participation, and the data were analyzed through a two-level coding process. The next stage of analysis drew on the Vygotskian concepts of ‘tools’ and ‘mediation’ in particular. The AR program provided the teachers with various conceptual and practical tools. Through transformation of these tools for their own purposes, the teachers were able to enact their agency, mediated by their future-oriented visions of self as well as their social, institutional and political environments. Implications of this study include the value of AR as an approach for equipping language teachers with a selection of tools to transform. The findings also suggest that ESL colleges need to become more conducive to sharing and supporting the benefits of teacher AR, in order to better facilitate the emergence of new professional identities and mediate agency.
Edwards, EC 2017, 'Putting assessment-for-learning into practice to support academic writing' in Burns, A & Khalifa, H (eds), Studies in Language Testing: Action research and language assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 170-186.
Edwards, EC & Burns, A 2014, 'Introducing innovation through action research in an Australian national programme: experiences and insights' in Hayes, D (ed), Innovations in the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English Language Teachers, British Council, United Kingdom, pp. 65-86.
Edwards, EC IATEFL Research SIG 2016, The impact of action research on teachers’ continuous professional development, no. 31, pp. 3-6, United Kingdom.