I began my career in TESOL and Applied Linguistics working as an English teacher in France, Kenya and Mauritius, where I lived for five years. In the 1970s I set up my own primary and junior high school with another colleague in Mauritius. That school, Alexandra House School, still continues today.

After I moved from the UK to Australia with my family in the early 1980s, I worked in the New South Wales Adult Migrant English Service, teaching newly arrived immigrants and refugees to Australia for eight years as a teacher, assistant principal and teacher educator. The NSW AMES is part of a national program, the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) funded by the Australian Government to assist new arrivals to learn English for settlement.

In 1990 I joined the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, and worked in the National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research (NCELTR) as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. There, I coordinated the Professional Development and Research Section (1992-1998) and then became the Associate Director (1998-2003). At the same time I taught in the Department of Linguistics as a Senior Lecturer in the Applied Linguistics programs.

I was appointed as Chair and Professor in the Department of Linguistics in 2003 and was the Dean of the Division of Linguistics and Psychology from 2000-2005. I have also held Adjunct Professor positions in the School of Educational Studies at La Trobe University (2000-203) and in the School of English and Applied Linguistics at UNITEC, Auckland (2003-2005). I was appointed an Adjunct Professor at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) at Macquarie University in 2006.

Some other recent appointments include Board Membership of the Extensive Reading Foundation, a non-profit organisation for the support and promotion of extensive reading. The ERF's annual Language Learner Literature Award is for the best works of language learner literature in English.

In 2006 I was appointed a member of the TESOL Research Standing Committee, and since 2009 I have been the chair of this committee.
I am also member-at large on the AILA Executive Board (International Association for Appiled Linguistics)

I was appointed as Professor in Language Education at Aston University from 1 June 2010. I am an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney and continue my links with Macquarie University as an Honorary Associate in the Department of Linguistics.