Professor Chris Kennedy BA, PGCE (TEFL), MA

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in English Language

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I started my teaching career as a volunteer in Nigeria, followed by several ELT jobs in Africa and South-East Asia, before joining Birmingham to set up ELT teacher development and applied linguistics programmes.


  • BA
  • MA Applied Linguistics


I  have worked as teacher, trainer, adviser, manager, consultant, and academic in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South-East Asia, and South America. I am a Past President of  IATEFL, and was Chair of the British Council English Teaching Advisory Committee for many years. I have had two secondments from Birmingham, the first to work for the British Council as an ESP specialist in Tunisia, the second as Chief Executive of CfBT, an international educational charity.


I teach postgraduates in the areas of systemic-functional grammar, sociolinguistics (especially language policy), curriculum innovation, and English as a global language.

Postgraduate supervision

I have an active group of PhD research students and I welcome MA and PhD supervision in the areas outlined under Research below.

Find out more - our PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research and publications focus on language policy, ELT curriculum innovation (including teacher development), and English as global language, with interests also in primary level ELT, professional communication, and applied corpus linguistics. I am currently especially interested in researching linguistic landscapes – the worldwide spread of English and other languages in everyday contexts – signs, billboards, product labels.

Other activities

Topics presented at recent invited plenary talks include:

  • Teachers in curriculum change (Chile);
  • Innovation and change (Russia);
  • ESP and innovation (Syria);
  • Curriculum innovation (Mexico);
  • Leadership and innovation (Uzbekistan);
  • Learners and teachers in innovation (Turkey);
  • Language policy and development (Bangladesh);
  • Investigating linguistic landscapes (Malaysia).

I have also presented at various international conferences on genre, learner corpora, language awareness, feedback in writing assessment, and linguistic landscapes.

I have conducted ELT consultancies and courses for Education Ministries, the British Council, and DfiD in over 50 countries, the most recent being ELT policy evaluation consultancies in North Korea, Iran, and Turkey.

I have been an external evaluator for several universities in UK and overseas for degree accreditation, and been an external adviser on university audit and evaluation Panels, and appointment Boards


  • (Forthcoming) ‘Language policy’ in B Tomlinson (ed) Applied linguistics applied  Continuum
  • 2011 ‘Challenges for language policy, language and development’ in H Coleman (ed) Dreams and realities: developing countries and the English language, British Council publications pp24-38
  • 2010 'Learning English in a global context' in S Hunston and D Oakey (eds) Doing Applied Linguistics Routledge, pp87-96.
  • 2007 'A corpus-based investigation of linguistic responses to an IELTS academic writing task' in L Taylor and P Falvey (eds) Research in speaking and writing assessment Studies in Language Testing 19, CUP, 316-77.
  • 2005 Just perfect! 'The pragmatics of evaluation in holiday postcards' in A Jaworski and A Pritchard (eds) Discourse, communication and tourism Channel View Publications Clevedon pp 223-46.