Dr Crayton Walker BEd, RSA Dip. TEFL, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Crayton Walker

Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics
Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Contact details

Room 143, 3 Elms Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a lecturer working in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics. I work with both undergraduate and postgraduate students who are following our campus and distance programmes. My main areas of expertise are associated with language teaching and corpus linguistics. 


  • Bachelor of Education, University of Southampton, 1979
  • Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Royal Society of Arts, 1980
  • Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics, University of Essex, 1985
  • Doctor of Philosophy (English), University of Birmingham, 2008
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, 2015


I have been working in the English Department at the University of Birmingham since 2006. Before joining the University I had a career in English language teaching. I taught English for Special Purposes (ESP) in London, Riyadh and Stuttgart and I was in charge of the English department of a large language school in Germany for over 10 years. I have worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and materials developer and have over 25 years of experience in EFL/ESL.


I teach both undergraduate and postgraduate students and I currently run courses on:

  • English language teaching (ELT)
  • Syllabus and materials design
  • Computer assisted language learning (CALL)
  • Language teaching methodology
  • Teaching and learning vocabulary & grammar
  • Teacher training and teacher development

In 2013 I won the School’s Teaching Excellence Award for my innovative work on the distance programme materials.

Awarded senior fellowship of the UK’s Higher Education Authority.

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising PhD students who are carrying out corpus-based research in the following areas:

  • collocation and other phraseological aspects of English
  • the pedagogic application of corpora
  • vocabulary and the teaching of vocabulary

I would like to hear from prospective PhD students who are interested in these areas.


My research interests are associated with the study of collocation and other phraseological aspects of English. I am currently using corpus-based techniques to investigate the phraseological behaviour of high frequency nouns and verbs and looking at how these are represented in mainstream EFL course-books.

I am particularly interested in semantic prosody and pattern grammar and how patterning and phraseology in the co-text helps to disambiguate a polysemous item.

Other activities

Recent Presentations

Japan Association for Language Teaching, Featured Speaker 2013 & 2014

  • Collocation and Phraseology in the Classroom
  • Lexical Congruency and Phraseology in English
  • Using a Corpus as a Teaching Tool
  • Lexical Congruency: Getting all the ducks lined up

Teaching and Learning Conference, University of Birmingham 2013 & 2014

  • Using Canvas (VLE) with Distance Programmes; A Birmingham Case Study
  • Using Metaplan Techniques to Facilitate Discussion in Large Groups

English Teachers Association Switzerland 2014

  • Collocations in the Classroom

Teachers of English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL) Canada - Featured Speaker 2015

  • Teaching Collocations in the Classroom
  • Lexical Congruency – Implications for teaching vocabulary

Director of Distance Programmes (ELAL)

I am the Director of two MA programmes which are delivered by distance learning. These are large programmes with a total of 308 students from 14 different countries following either the MA in Applied Linguistics or the MA in TESOL. Our distance programmes allow practicing expatiate teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) to study for an MA while they are working abroad (e.g. in Korea, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia etc.). The majority of our students are mature and come from Canada, America, the United Kingdom and Australia.

External Examiner University of Warwick 2011-2014

During the last 4 years I have been working for the University of Warwick as an External Examiner for their Higher Education Foundation Programme. This is a large programme (currently 270 students) which is run in collaboration with two local colleges of Higher Education. With over 20 years of experience of managing large language training programmes I have been able to bring a lot of very practical experience to the role.


  • Walker, C. 2014. At The Same Time; A case of Lexical Congruency. The Language Teacher. Issue 38/4.
  • Walker, C. 2011. A corpus-based study of the linguistic features and processes which influence the way collocations are formed: Some implications for the learning of collocations. TESOL Quarterly.
  • Walker, C. 2010. How a corpus study of the factors which influence collocation can help in the teaching of business English. ESP Journal. 10.1016/ j.esp.2010.12.003.
  • Walker, C. 2009. The treatment of collocation by learners’ dictionaries, collocational dictionaries and dictionaries of business English. International Journal of Lexicography, 22/3, 281-299.
  • Walker, C. 2007. Factors which influence the process of collocation. In Boers, F & Lindstromberg, S (Eds), Cognitive Linguistic Approaches to Teaching Vocabulary and Phraseology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 291-308.


English Language, especially issues with contemporary usage; English Language Teaching,  especially in the area of vocabulary and the teaching of vocabulary; Lexis & Collocation Corpus Lingusitics.


English Language, especially issues with contemporary usage; English Language Teaching,  especially in the area of vocabulary and the teaching of vocabulary; Lexis & Collocation Corpus Lingusitics.