Event Date: 16th April 2022


Developing students’ oral skills is a challenge for many language teachers. This is because speaking is a skill that demands different types of knowledge, competence, and strategies, both social and cognitive.

In this talk, Prof. Anne Burns briefly highlights some of these various demands and argues that there is a difference between ‘doing speaking’ and ‘teaching speaking’ in language teaching contexts. She then argues that action research provides teachers with tools to explore pedagogic issues, puzzles and challenges that occur on a daily basis.

After briefly highlighting the main features and steps of action research, Prof. Anne illustrates her talk with examples of how language teachers, she has worked with, especially in Australia, have used action research to explore the teaching and learning of speaking, to address students’ speaking needs in their classrooms and to revitalize their classrooms, their students’ learning and their own professional practices.

Her fundamental argument is that the voices of teachers who do research in their classrooms serves to enrich the language teaching profession.

About the Speaker:

Prof. Anne Burns is part-time professor at Curtin University, Australia, an Honorary Professor of TESOL at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and Professor Emerita in Language Education at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney and The Education University, Hong Kong.

She has published extensively on action research and teacher education and supervised many doctoral students conducting research on English language teaching and learning.

Her most recent books are The Cambridge Guide to Learning English as a Second Language (CUP, 2018), edited with Professor Jack Richards, and Sustaining Action Research (Routledge, 2022), co-authored with Dr Emily Edwards an Dr Neville Ellis.