I did honours undergraduate studies in English Literature at the University of Wales, Cardiff. After travelling and living overseas in France, Kenya and Mauritius and finding myself teaching English language classes, I enrolled soon after emigrating to Australia at what is now the University of Technology, Sydney, in a Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL. For ten years I taught adult immigrants in Australia’s Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) before joining the staff of the Linguistics Department at Macquarie University. I did my PhD under the supervision of Professor David Nunan and worked in the National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research (NCELTR) whose Executive Director was Professor Christopher Candlin. The Centre was funded by Australia’s Department of Immigration and became well known nationally and internationally for its focus on research, professional development, publications and specialist library resources relating to adult immigrant education. I left Macquarie University in 2010 after 20 years and have joined Aston University as Professor in Language Education.
I am probably best known for my work on teacher education, and action research, which I initiated as a way of doing collaborative research projects with AMEP teachers nationally in Australia. My books Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers (CUP, 1999) and Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching: A Guide for Practitioners (Routledge, 2010) are a result of this work. A volume co-edited with Professor Jack Richards, The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Teacher Education (CUP, 2009), which was shortlisted for the Ben Warren Prize, reflects my interest in the theory and practice of language teacher professional development. Another long-term strand of research has been in teaching spoken communication from a discourse perspective, published in early co-edited work such as Focus on Speaking (NCELTR, 1996), and “I See What You Mean” (NCELTR, 1997), and numerous other articles and book chapters published since that time. My research interests in adult immigrant and refugee education are reflected in the 2010 Special Issue of TESOL Quarterly on Migration and Adult Language Learning (edited with Celia Roberts). I am also active in various professional organisations and have been the Chair of TESOL’s Standing Committee for Research, as well as Member-at-Large of AILA.
I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the teaching and learning of English as an additional language, curriculum development and methodology, literacy, genre analysis and functional linguistics, and qualitative research. Working mainly from qualitative perspectives, I have supervised 20 students to completion of their doctoral degrees.
- Adult Immigrant and ESOL policy, theory and practice
- Analysis of spoken discourse for education and professional purposes
- Language teacher and learner beliefs and cognition
- Literacy/reading and writing research in educational settings
- Language teacher education ESP and EAP theory and practice
- Qualitative/action research based in language classrooms
- Theory and practice of language curriculum development
If you are interested in being supervised in any of the research ares listed above, please contact me.
Recent Research Funding
Investigating global practices in teaching English to young learners (TEYL)
The British Council (2010-11) with Sue Garton and Fiona Copland, Aston University)
Membership of Professional Bodies
- Member of American Association of Applied Linguistics
- Member and Chair of Standing Committee for Research, TESOL
- Member and Member-at-Large on Executive Committee of International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA)
- Member and Secretary of Executive Committee of Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA)
Burns, A., & Richards, J.C. (Eds.). (forthcoming). The Cambridge Guide to Pedagogy and Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Burns, A., & Richards, J.C. (forthcoming). Tips for Teaching Listening: A Practical Guide. New York: Pearson Longman.
Burns, A. (2010). Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching: A Guide for Practitioners. New York: Routledge.
Burns, A., & Richards, (Eds.). (2009). The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Teacher Education. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Burns, A., & Burton, J. (Eds.). (2008). Language Teacher Research in Australia and New Zealand. Alexandria, VA.: TESOL.
Burns, A., & de Silva Joyce, H. (2008). Clearly Teaching: Explicit Pedagogy in Action. (with DVD) Sydney: AMEP Research Centre.
Burns, A. & de Silva Joyce, H. (Eds.). (2007). Planning and Teaching Creatively Within a Required Curriculum. Alexandria, VA.: TESOL.
Burns, A. (2010). Teacher engagement with research: Published resources for teacher researchers. Language Teaching, 43(4).
Burns, A. & Roberts, C. (2010). Migration and adult language learning: Global flows and local transpositions. Special issue of TESOL Quarterly on Migration and Adult Language Learning TESOL Quarterly, 44(3).
Burns, A., Kim, M., & Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. (2009). Doctoral work in translation studies as an interdisciplinary mutual learning process: How a translator, teacher educator and linguistic typologist worked together. Special Issue. Training for Doctoral Research. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 3(1), 107-128.
Burns, A. (2009). Adult ESL in Australia: Policies, programs and practices. Language Issues, 20(1), 31-39.
Burns, A. & Moore, S. (2008). Questioning in simulated accountant-client consultations: Exploring implications for ESP teaching. English for Specific Purposes, 27, 322-337.
Burns, A., Paltridge, B. & Wigglesworth, G. (2008). Review of doctoral research in second-language teaching and learning in Australia (2003-2006). Language Teaching, 41(2), 273-293.
Burns, A., & Moore, S. (2008). NESB accountants and professional communication. Special issue. Language in the Workplace. Prospect, 23 (2), 47-59.
Borg, S. & Burns, A. (2008). Integrating grammar in adult TESOL classrooms. Applied Linguistics, 29: 456-482.
Burns, A., & Moore, S. (2008). Communicating in professional accounting contexts – unexplored territory. Taxation in Australia, 43(6), 315-7.
Burns, A., & Halliday, M.A.K. (2008). Applied linguistics: Thematic pursuits of disciplinary moorings? A conversation between Michael Halliday and Anne Burns. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(1), 113-128.
Burns, A. & Rochsantiningsih, D. (2006). Conducting action research in Indonesia: Illustrations and implications. Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching, 2(1) 21-35.
Burns, A. (2006). Surveying landscapes in adult ESOL research. Invited paper. Special issue on ESOL research. Linguistics and Education, 17(1), 97-105.
Burns, A. (2006). Integrating research and professional development on pronunciation teaching in a national adult ESL program. TESL Reporter, 39(2), 34-41.
Recent Book Chapters
Burns, A., & B. Seidlhofer (2010). Speaking and pronunciation. In N. Schmitt (Ed). An Introduction to Applied Linguistics (pp.197-214). Second edition. London: Hodder.
Burns, A. (2010). Teaching speaking using genre-based pedagogy. In Olafsson, M. (Ed.), Symposium 2009. Genrer och Funktionellt Språk i Teori och Praktik (pp. 230-246). Stockholm: National Centre for Swedish as a Second Language, University of Stockholm.
Burns, A. (2010). Action research. In B. Paltridge & A. Pakhiti (Eds.), The Continuum Guide to Research in Applied Linguistics (pp.80-97). London: Continuum.
Burns, A. (2009). Action research in second language teacher education. In A. Burns & J. C. Richards (Eds.), The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Teacher Education (pp. 289-297). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Burns, A. (2009). Action research. In Croker, R. & Heigham, J. (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Applied Linguistics (pp. 112-134). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Burns, A. (2008). Demythologising CLT: Wanted – a reorientation for teachers in the 21st century. In A. Mahboob & N. Knight (Eds.), Questioning Linguistics (pp.188-206). Newcastle-upon- Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.
Burns, A., & Burton, J. (2008). Introduction: Language Teaching Research in Australia and New Zealand. In Burns, A. & Burton, J. (Eds). (2008), Language Teacher Research in Australia and New Zealand (pp. 1-8). Alexandria: TESOL.
Burns, A. (2007). Action research in ELT: Contributions and future directions. In J. Cummins & C. Davison (Eds.), The International Handbook of English Language Teaching, Vol. 2 (pp. 987-1002). Norwell, MA.: Springer.
Burns, A., & H. de Silva Joyce (2007). Challenging requirements: How teachers navigate to make changes within required curricula. In A. Burns, A. & H. de Silva Joyce (Eds). Planning and Teaching Creatively within a Required Curriculum (pp. 1-14). Alexandria: TESOL.
Burns, A. & Moore, S. (2007). Using CA for application to the LSP classroom. Some initial suggestions. In Bowles, H. & Seedhouse, P. (Eds). Conversation analysis and Language for Specific Purposes (pp. 183-215).Amsterdam: Peter Lang.
Burns, A. (2006).Teaching speaking: A text-based syllabus approach. In E., Uso-Juan & A.Martinez-Flor (Eds.). Current Trends in the Development and Teaching of the Four Language Skills (pp. 235-258). Amsterdam: Mouton de Gruyter.
Recent Plenary Presentations
Burns, A. Action research: What can it contribute to English language teaching? Plenary Speaker, 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Research, National University of Colombia, 27-29 May, 2010.
Burns, A. Qualitative and action research approaches for writing research. Keynote Speaker, Research in Writing National Seminar, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway, 12-14 April, 2010.
Burns, A. Teacher cognition in social context: The unobservable dimensions of teaching grammar. Keynote Speaker. Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand/Australian Applied Linguistics Association Combined Conference, Auckland, 2-4 December, 2009.
Burns, A. Second language teacher education and research: What are the trends and challenges? Promoting Collaboration in Research between SLA Theory and Language Teaching, 1st Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (FLLT) Conference, Language Institute Thammasat University, Asia Hotel, 16-17 October, 2009.
Burns, A. Teaching speaking used genre-based pedagogy. Symposium on Genre Approaches to Teaching a Second Language. Plenary Speaker, University of Stockholm, Sweden, 2 October, 2009.
Burns, A. Action research: What’s in it for teaching practitioners?Featured Speaker, English Australia Conference, Hilton Hotel, Melbourne, 17-19 September, 2009.
Burns, A. Trends, directions and challenges in second language teacher education and research. Plenary Speaker, 9th Nordic Conference on Second Language Teaching and Learning. Helsingør, Denmark, 11-13 June, 2009.
Burns, A. Becoming a holistic teacher: Discovering our practices through action research. Plenary Speaker, 26th International Conference on English Teaching and Learning in the ROC. Hsinchu, Taiwan, ROC, 16-17 May 2009.
Burns, A. Grammar and communicative language teaching. When, why and how to teach it?
Plenary Speaker, 5th CAMTESOL Conference on English Language Teaching, The Globalisation of ELT: Emerging Directions, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 21-22 February 2009.