Simon’s research and scholarly interests result from his experiences teaching English as a foreign language in countries such as Italy and Hungary, which is where he became interested in the emergence of grammar. After graduating with an MA Applied Linguistics from Sussex University in 2003, where he focused his research on Usage-Based accounts of language acquisition, his interest has developed to emergent phenomenon and complexity theory, with a special interest in Dynamic Systems Theory.
Simon has worked both as a teacher and teacher trainer, most notably as course director for the university’s Chinese Teacher Education programme and as the course director for the university’s pre-sessional programme. Since moving onto the undergraduate degree programme, he has specialised in teaching language acquisition. He has worked as a course book consultant for Oxford University Press, contributing to series such as Clockwise and Natural English.
Simon has strong links to the ELT industry in Brighton and Hove and uses those contacts to investigate, among other things, the language awareness of English language teachers, the grammar syllabuses taught in local schools and colleges, and the relationships between the business models of schools and their pedagogical practices.
His scholarly interest centres on complexity perspectives in language acquisition and ELT. He also researches pedagogic grammars and their implementation in ELT syllabuses.
Approach to teaching
A good teacher and teacher trainer needs passion and enthusiasm in order to motivate their students. I believe that passion for your subject and passion for your students’ learning can go a long way to creating effective teaching and can inspire your students. It is important to work in partnership with your students and to share their goals. Teaching teachers means there is always something to learn from them and their experiences, which can lead to enhanced reflection and reflexivity for my own practice.
My teaching philosophy has been informed by my learning and teaching experiences and also by my scholarly activity. I have been particularly influenced by Vygotsky and Bourdieu. From Vygotsky, I have taken the idea that practical activity in a social environment leads to the emergence of learning and from Bourdieu the importance of practice and embodiment. From my love of complexity science, I have taken a keen interest in the emergence of patterns of learning and knowledge structure.
Master, University of Sussex