Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Contact Details

Research Students

Professor Mike Baynham

Professor of TESOL

I am Professor of TESOL in the School of Education. My professional background is in Adult ESOL and Literacy. Before I came to Leeds, I spent ten years in Sydney at the University of Technology, Sydney where I was Director of the Centre for Language and Literacy and before that I worked in London in Adult and Higher Education. My academic background is in sociolinguistics, but I have always been involved in and committed to Applied Linguistics.

Current Professional Activities

I was Chair of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) for the period 2001-2003.

From 1996 to 2003 I co-convened with Mastin Prinsloo of the University of Cape Town of the International Applied Linguistics Association (AILA) Scientific Commission on Literacy.

From 2006-2010 I was co-director with Stef Slembrouck of the AILA Research Network on Language and Migration.

Research Interests

My research interests include oral narrative (my Phd [Reading 1988] was entitled “Narrative and Narrativity in the English of a First Generation Migrant Community). From narrative I developed an interest in speech representation in both narrative and non narrative contexts. Other areas of interest are socially situated perspectives on literacy, in particular academic literacies, classroom discourse, language and maths.

I am currently a co-investigator on the AHRC Translating Cultures project  Translation and translanguaging: Investigating linguistic and cultural transformations in superdiverse wards in four UK cities (2014-2018)

I am currently developing a research interest in Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues in Adult ESOL and am co-investigator on the ESRC Seminar Series "Queering ESOL@ towards a cultural politics of LGBT issues in the Adult ESOL classroom" (2013-2015)  http://queeringesol.wordpress.com/  also consultant on the British Council Nexus Project "Exploring LGBT Lives in Adult ESOL   https://esol.britishcouncil.org/exploring-lgbt-lives-and-issues-adult-esol (2013-2014)


Key Publications


  • Baynham M; Prinsloo M (2009) The Future of Literacy Studies. Palgrave MacMillan.

    "This book brings together authors actively involved in shaping the field ofliteracy studies, presenting a robust approach to the theoretical and empirical ...

  • Collins JP; Baynham M; Slembrouck S (2009) Globalization and language in contact. Continuum International Publishing Group.

    This book examines the impact of globalization on language in contact, including thestudy of linkages between the global and local, and transnational and ...

Journal Articles

  • Baynham MJ (2011) “Stance, positioning and alignment in narratives of professional experience”, Language in Society. 40: 63-74.

    Language in Society is the premier international peer reviewed hjournal in sociolinguistics

    This article examines narratives of professional experience in a corpus of forty interviews in which English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers reflect on their professional life histories as well as their current teaching. The notion of “stance” emerged as a major theme: the teachers positioned themselves in relation to the policy environment, to learners, teaching and learning, and their sense of control in their working lives. Narrative was an important discursive resource for doing so and a range of narrative types (personal, generic/iterative, hypothetical, exemplum, and ‘negated’) are identified, each demonstrating performance features. Using Dubois’s (2007) definition of stance, I examine the dynamic relationship between stance taking and discursive positioning, discussing the role of performance in these processes. Shifts into performance are shown to depend on participant roles and alignments in the interviews rather than on particular narrative types. Thus, the data contradicts some of Wolfson’s (1976) observations on narratives in the research interview. The analysis contributes to our understanding of the research interview as a dynamically co-constructed speech genre rather than as a neutral locus for gathering data.

  • Baynham MJ; Simpson J (2010) “Onwards and Upwards: space, placement and liminality in adult ESOL classes”, TESOL Quarterly Roberts C; Burns A (eds.). 44.3: 420-440.

    This is the leading international peer reviewed journal in the field of TESOL

    Author URL [www.education.leeds.ac.uk]

    The extensive literature on classroom-based second language learning makes little attempt to situate the classroom itself in social and multilingual sociolinguistic space, in the complex and iterative networks of encounters and interactions that make up daily life. Daily life is routinely evoked and "brought into" the classroom as a pedagogic and testing strategy, but how can we understand the classroom as just one of the sites in which daily life, including language learning and use, is played out? In this article we outline an approach to researching the spaces of language learning, and the identity positions that are routinely made available to English speakers of other languages (ESOL) learners, drawing on approaches from cultural geography and linguistic ethnography. We illustrate the discussion with data from a study investigating the placement practices by which ESOL students in England are placed and place themselves in particular types of educational provision (Simpson, Cooke, & Baynham, 2008), investigating why some may choose the identity of second language learner and others orient toward mainstream education opportunities. We conclude with a discussion of new identity positions, understood as spaces of becoming created by the levels and progressions of curriculum frameworks, drawing on Bernstein's (1999) notion of vertical and horizontal discourses.

  • Baynham MJ (2006) “Agency and contingency in the language learning of refugees and asylum seekers”, Linguistics and Education. 17.1: 24-39.


  • Baynham MJ (2009) “'Just one day like today': scale and the analysis of space/time orientation in narratives of displacement”, In: Collins J; Slembrouck S; Baynham M (eds.) Globalization and Language in Contact: scale, migration and communicative practices.. Advances in Sociolinguistics. London: Continuum. 130-147

    Author URL [www.education.leeds.ac.uk]

  • Baynham MJ (2008) “Elite or powerful literacies? Constructions of literacy in the novels of Charles Dickens and Mrs Gaskell”, In: Prinsloo M; Baynham MJ (eds.) Literacies, Global and Local. AILA Applied Linguistics Series. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 173-192

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