Distinguished Professor Roderick James Ellis

MA (Leeds), MEd (Bristol), PhD (London)


Research interests

Second language acquisition, individual learner differences, form-focussed instruction, teacher education, course design and methodology of language teaching.

In addition to my position in the Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics in University of Auckland,I also contribute to work in the MA in TESOL program in Anaheim University and I am a visiting professor at Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) as part of China’s Chang Jiang Scholars Program.  I also hold an annual seminar at Showa Women's University, Tokyo, Japan.

My published works include articles and books on second language acquisition, language teaching and teacher education.My books include Understanding Second Language Acquisition (BAAL Prize 1986) and The Study of Second Language Acquisition (Duke of Edinburgh prize 1995),Task-Based Learning and Teaching early (2003), and Analyzing Learner Language (with Gary Barkhuizen) in (2005). A second edition of The Study of Second Language Acquisition was published in 2008 and Implicit and Explicit Knowledge in Language Learning, Testing and Teachingin 2009. Recent publications include Language Teaching Research and Language Pedagogy (Wiley-Blackwell) and Exploring Language Pedagogy through Second Language Acqusition Research (Routledge; with Natsuko Shintani).  I have also published several English language textbooks, including Impact Grammar (Pearson: Longman).  I am currently on the editorial board of five journals. A second edition of Understanding Second Language Acquisition (Oxford University Press) was published in 2015.

I was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2013.

In addition to my current position in New Zealand, I have worked in schools in Spain and Zambia and in universities in the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States. I have also conducted numerous consultancies and seminars throughout the world.

Research | Current

1.  Understanding Second Language Acquisition

Published March 2015

2.  Co-editing

Complementary contributions of meta-analysis and narratiuve reviews for a special issue of the journal Applied Linguistics

3.  Co-editing

Order and sequence in second language acquisition for special issue of the journal Language Learning

4, Co-editing special issue on complementary nature of narrative and meta-analytic research synthesis for special issue of Applied Linguistics

Teaching | Current

LANGTCHG 710 Task-based Language Teaching

LANGTCHG 732 Applied Linguistics Research

LANGTCHG 743 Second Language Acquisition

I currently teach on postgraduate courses on:

  •  Second language Acquisition
  • Task-based language teaching and learning
  • Second language Classroom Research
  • Methods of Applied Linguistic research

Postgraduate supervision

Second language acquisition

  • Individual learner differences
  • Form-focussed instruction
  • Teacher education
  • Course design and methodology of language teaching
  • Task-based language teaching


On editorial board of five journals. Currently supervising 10 PhD students

Areas of expertise

Second language acquisition research;  language teacher education; task-based language teaching

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Li, S., Ellis, R., & Zhu, Y. (2016). Task-based versus task-supported language instruction: An experimental study. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 36, 205-229. 10.1017/S0267190515000069
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/28510
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shaofeng Li
  • Li, S., Ellis, R., & Shu, D (2016). The differential effects of immediate and delayed feedback on learners of different proficiency levels. Foreign Languages and Foreign Language Research, 286, 1-15. 10.13458/j.cnki.flatt.004214
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/28987
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shaofeng Li
  • Li, S., Zhu, Y., & Ellis, R. (2016). The effects of the timing of corrective feedback on the acquisition of a new linguistic structure. Modern Language Journal, 100 (1), 276-295. 10.1111/modl.12315
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/28514
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shaofeng Li
  • Shintani, N., & Ellis, R. (2015). Does language analytical ability mediate the effect of written feedback on grammatical accuracy in second language writing?. System, 49, 110-119. 10.1016/j.system.2015.01.006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Natsuko Shintani
  • Ellis, R. (2015). The importance of focus on form in communicative language teaching. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1 (2), 1-12. Related URL.
  • Shintani, N., & Ellis, R. (2014). Tracking 'learning behaviours' in the incidental acquisition of two dimensional adjectives by Japanese beginner learners of L2 English. Language Teaching Research, 18 (4), 521-542. 10.1177/1362168813519885
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Natsuko Shintani
  • Shintani, N., & Ellis, R. (2014). Language analytical ability: What role does it play in L2 learners’ use of written feedback?. Paper presented at AILA World Congress 2014, Brisbane, Australia. 10 August - 15 August 2014. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Natsuko Shintani
  • Shintani, N., Ellis, R., & Suzuki, W. (2014). Effects of Written Feedback and Revision on Learners’ Accuracy in Using Two English Grammatical Structures. Language Learning, 64 (1), 103-131. 10.1111/lang.12029
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Natsuko Shintani

Contact details

Office hours

By appointment - emeial r.ellis@auckland.ac.nz

Primary location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 4, Room 403
New Zealand