Dist Prof 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)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Li, S., Ellis, R., & Zhu, Y. (2019). The associations between cognitive ability and L2 development under five different instructional conditions. APPLIED PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 40 (3), 693-722. 10.1017/S0142716418000796
  • Ellis, R., Li, S., & Zhu, Y. (2019). The effects of pre-task explicit instruction on the performance of a focused task. SYSTEM, 80, 38-47. 10.1016/j.system.2018.10.004
  • Erlam, R., & Ellis, R. (2018). Task-Based Language Teaching for Beginner-Level Learners of L2 French: An Exploratory Study. Canadian Modern Language Review, 74 (1), 1-26. 10.3138/cmlr.3831
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rosemary Erlam
  • Ellis, R. (2017). Position paper: Moving task-based language teaching forward. Language Teaching, 50 (04), 507-526. 10.1017/S0261444817000179
  • Khezrlou, S., Ellis, R., & Sadeghi, K. (2017). Effects of computer-assisted glosses on EFL learners' vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension in three learning conditions. System, 65, 104-116. 10.1016/j.system.2017.01.009
  • Ellis, R. (2016). Focus on form: A critical review. Language Teaching Research, 20 (3), 405-428. 10.1177/1362168816628627
  • 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
  • Ellis, R. (2016). A Professional Life: Teacher, Teacher Educator and Researcher. Becoming and Being an Applied Linguist (pp. 15-46). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Benjamins.

Contact details

Office hours

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

Primary office location

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