I’ve been teaching English for over 10 years, first in Japan, then in Georgia (the country not the US state) and now in Australia, where I specialise in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP). This experience, together with all that I learnt while completing an MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Sydney as well as through my reading since then, has led me to base my teaching on the Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) of Michael Halliday and work drawing on this such as Sydney School genre pedagogy, EAP theory and, most recently, Legitimation Code Theory. Thanks to this work, I’ve become fascinated by the notion of the inseparability of language, knowledge and social context (I’m not a determinist though; language doesn’t constrain thought). I also find SFL to be both an extremely powerful tool for analysing of language, society and power, and well suited for teaching English in a contextually-grounded, systematic way.

My MA thesis used SFL to analyse and compare the linguistic construction of individual agency in the speech of motivational ‘guru’ Anthony Robbins and in that of Hillsong megachurch pastor Brian Houston. Part of this thesis, God, the Devil and You: A Systemic Functional Linguistic Analysis of the Language of Hillsong, has been published in the journal Literature & Aesthetics.

I write about language, linguistics and teaching English. I guess you could say my writing home has been English Australia Journal, for which I’ve written a number of book reviews as well as articles about teaching for the Classroom Talk section. I’m currently writing a number of language and linguistics related articles for other publications (go to Writing for an up-to-date list and links).


Thanks to everyone who came to my session on creativity within genre pedagogy at the UECA PD Fest.  Feel free to download the pdf of my PowerPoint slides, which includes the example essay we worked with and some accompanying notes.