Research centre

ALLE logo Applied Linguistics and Language in Education Research Centre.

Recent research projects

These are projects I have recently completed and the publications that were produced from them.

Teachers' beliefs and practices about the effective integration of grammar instruction (with Dr Simon Borg, University of Leeds, 2005-2006).
Funded by The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF).
The research phase is now completed and an article was published in Applied Lingiustics (Borg & Burns, 2008). Presentations on this project were made at the 41st Annual TESOL Convention, 2007 in Seattle (see the presentations page where you can download the presentation), and also at the IATEFL Conference in Harrogate, 2010.

Learner-centred syllabus design and communicative language teaching (with Helen de Silva Joyce, 2006-2007)
Funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
In this research we observed the classes of 11 teachers working in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). We interviewed the teachers and held focus group of 3-6 students from each of the classes. Our aim was to identify the key features of effective teaching practices and to illustrate them for other teachers. A tracher's handbook and DVD called Clearly teaching were published through THE The AMEP Research Centre

Conversational analysis and the accounting classroom: Exploring implications for LSP teaching (with Dr Stephen Moore, 2006-ongoing)
This research investigates spoken professional interactions in the field of accounting using simulations of accountants and accounting students giving advice on taxation to clients. The research involves building a database of interactions in order to identify recurring patterns of language use. See the most recent article from this project.

Investigating the teaching of vocabulary (with Helen de Silva Joyce, 2000-2001)
Thumbnail of Teachers voices 7 This research investigated how teachers could teach vocabulary effectively in adult second language classrooms. A volume in the Teachers' Voices series reports on the project and contains teachers' accounts of their action research.
Burns, A. & de Silva Joyce, H. (Eds). (2001). Teachers' voices 7: Teaching vocabulary. Sydney: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research.

The effect of formal instruction at masters level on teachers' classroom implementation of systemic functional grammar (with John Knox, 2001-2)
This project involved classroom-based research on teachers' use of and knowledge about systemic functional grammar in the adult TESOL classroom. An invited chapter based on this research was subsequently published.
Burns, A. & Knox, J. (2005). Realisation(s): Systemic functional linguistics and the language classroom. In N. Bartels (Ed). Applied linguistics and language teacher education, (pp.235-26). New York: Springer.

Teaching pronunciation in the adult ESL classroom (with Stephanie Claire, 2003-2004)
Thumbnail of Clearly speaking This project produced a DVD where six teachers demonstrate activities for teaching pronunciation that they have used effectively with learners at different levels. A step-by-step guide to each lesson accompanies the DVD. It contains photocopiable material for some of the activities and action and reflection tasks for teachers to try out.
Burns, A. & Claire, S. (2004). Clearly speaking: Pronunciation in action for teachers. Sydney: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research.

Scaffolding the teaching of reading and writing in the adult ESL classroom (with Helen de Silva Joyce, 2004-2005).
Thumbnail of Teachers voices 8 This project looked at how teachers could scaffold reading and writing activities for the effective development of literacy. Eight teachers were involved in an action research project where they applied the concepts of scaffolding to their classrooms. The accounts of five teachers and a DVD of their classrooms are presented in the publication:
Burns, A. & de Silva Joyce, H. (Eds). (2005). Teachers' voices 8: Explicitly supporting reading and writing in the classroom. Sydney: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research.