Innovative research in language teaching recognised

31 March 2017
Dr Andy Gao and Dr Dudley Reynolds present Gary with the the 2017 Award for Distinguished Research from the TESOL International Association.
Dr Andy Gao and Dr Dudley Reynolds present Gary with the the 2017 Award for Distinguished Research from the TESOL International Association.

Professor Gary Barkhuizen from the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics has been awarded the 2017 Award for Distinguished Research from the TESOL International Association.

The award recognises excellence in research on language teaching and learning.

Gary received the award at the opening keynote session of the recent annual convention in Seattle, attended by over 6,000 delegates.

TESOL International Association is the largest professional organisation for teachers and researchers of English as a second or foreign language. It is based in the United States and has more than 115 affiliates throughout the world, with a total membership of more than 47,000 professionals.

Gary says that "It was an honour to receive such an international award, and the level of collegiality and commendation at the convention was quite extraordinary."

His nomination was based on an article that reported on a narrative study of the developing (imagined) professional identity of a migrant English teacher in New Zealand. It was published in TESOL Quarterly in 2016, and proposed an innovative method of analysis, which he calls short story analysis.

The teacher, an immigrant from the Pacific Island of Tonga, imagined herself working amongst members of her immigrant community, but ended up teaching English at a privileged high school.

Gary explains that "Language teacher identity is a hot topic in applied linguistics currently, with rapid advances in conceptions of what it is and methodologies for exploring it."

Gary applied the short story analytical approach to examine the teacher's narratives.

Short stories are excerpts of data extracted from a larger set of data such as conversations, interviews, written narratives, and multimodal digital stories.

In this case, Gary analysed short stories from a series of interviews for both their content and the varying scales of context in which the short stories were constructed and interpreted.

He included reflexive personal commentary on his own positioning throughout the article, and concluded with suggestions for the use of short story analysis in teacher reflection and research.


A Short Story Approach to Analyzing Teacher (Imagined) Identities Over Time