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Dr Alan Tonkyn

Dr Alan Tonkyn

Areas of interest

Alan's main research and teaching interests are in the area of second language acquisition (SLA), with a special interest in the development and assessment of spoken language proficiency. As a by-product of this work, Alan has collaborated with Pauline Foster of St Mary's University College, Twickenham and Gillian Wigglesworth of the University of Melbourne in the development of a new unit of analysis for L2 speech. (Foster, Tonkyn and Wigglesworth, 2000.)

Alan's research interests also led to his being a member of Cambridge ESOL's working party developing the new version of the IELTS Speaking Test (Tonkyn and Wilson, 2004).

Research projects

Alan is a co-investigator in a research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation (Principal Investigator: Professor Suzanne Graham) involving an investigation of the effects of teaching approaches and other factors in the learning of French in English primary schools.


Alan was formerly the Programme Director of, and Admissions Tutor for, the MA in Applied Linguistics and MA in ELT (campus-based) programmes, and taught a range of modules on these programmes. He has continued to teach the LSMSP (Spoken Language) module as a Visiting Lecturer in 2012-13. He also supervised a number of PhD students, but will cease to supervise with effect from June 2013.

Outside of the University, Alan has contributed to the MA in ELT and Applied Linguistics programme at St Mary's University College, Twickenham by teaching the Research Methods and Dissertation module. He is on the Editorial Board of the Asian EFL Journal, and reviews for the journals TESOL Quarterly, Applied Linguistics and Second Language Research.

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons) English (Natal)
  • MA English Language and Literature (Oxon)
  • PGCE in TEFL (London)
  • MA in Applied Linguistics (Reading) PhD (Reading).



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