Mr Deak Kirkham

Mr Deak Kirkham

Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes

+44 (0)113 343 3398

Summary: Teaching academic English for business and management; application of linguistic concepts to language learning and teaching; constructed languages

Location: Parkinson 3.27

Areas of Responsibility

Most of my work at the current time is within teaching or educational management of English as a foreign language, often with an explicit or implicit EAP shading. From around 2010 I became heavily involved in course design around academic English for business and management contributing to lengthy and short pre-sessional as well as in-sessional courses. I worked closely with the Leeds University Business School (LUBS) delivering in-sessional and pre-sessional language, academic skills and writing courses. In this role, I have developed curricula for both in-sessional and pre-sessional courses and have taken course leadership roles in the summer and year-round business programs.

More recently, I have led on the LinC initiative which constitutes a content-led optional program to supplement the General English and Academic English for Postgraduate Studies programs as well as to various scholarship initiatives.

I convene and deliver / have convened and delivered: the Master's module 5014M Rhetoric and public speaking; the undergraduate modules LING1060 Language projects and LING2340 Syntax; the undergraduate modules MODL1060 Language: Structure and sound and LING1100 Language: Meaning and use (as tutor); and (within the Language Centre) currently (co-)lead on ELU3004 Language for Business and ELU3001 Language for Marketing, as well as ELU0111 Language in Context. 


Within language teaching and linguistics, I have thought / read a lot and written a bit about the following topics (roughly in descending order of felt importance):

a) Non-CLT methodologies (TPR and CBI); the role and use of L1 in the classroom; the role and use of metalanguage in teaching (particularly grammar) and the associated issue of language awareness; autonomy in language learning; the role of authentic NS-NNS communication and developmental of interactional competence (the topic of an ongoing PhD in which I challenge the orthodoxy of the second language classroom as the sole / main locus of learning as well as the curricula and assessment assumptions the classroom forces on the industry).

b) Academic and other writing, particularly content-based instruction for academic English or business, written corrective feedback and complex grammar constructions, collaborative approaches to writing development and soft drivers of writing development e.g writerly voice, writing and play / creativity and reflective / experiential writing. 

c) The (limitations of the) application of linguistic concepts to language learning and teaching. This area of concerns touches on relatively complex issues of linguistic theory and how particular theories do or do not shed light on (adult second) language learning. Having been brought up a generativist, I'm now a fanatical devotee of construction adn cognitive grammar approaches key formative figures for me being Michael Tomasello, Adele Goldberg, William Croft and Nick Ellis: something like contextually-driven semantico-conceptual structure first; lexico-grammar as constructions next; 'syntax' last (with syntax understood to be at the end of the lexico-syntactic cline)!

d) Constructed languages, specifically Esperanto, how they inform linguistic theorising; educational policy and Esperanto; autonomous language learning and Esperanto; socio-cultural learning and Esperanto. 

e) The nature and dynamics of informal, out-of-class language learning e.g. 'intercambios' and round table language learning as (quasi-)informal language learning contexts, what can be done to render them more effective, barriers to and drivers of change. As a members of several round table style language learning groups (Spanish and Esperanto), I take a strong interest in what differentiates the feelgood from the flop. 

I have previously taught in the UK, Slovakia, Egypt (where I was an IELTS Speaking examiner) and Oman. I sporadically run creative writing courses / workshops in conference contexts (EATAW, EWCA, NAWE), commercially, or within a mindfulness context. 


BA Hons, Class I (Durham) English Language and Linguistics (1998)

MA, Distinction (York) Syntax and Semantics: Dissertation 'The Syntax of Negative Raising' (1999)

Cambridge ESOL CELTA (2003)

Cambridge ESOL DELTA (2006) (Distinction in the Extended Assignment)

PRINCE2 (Foundation) (2010)

PhD (commenced October 2015; University of York): Provisional title: Language  Pedagogy at the Edge of Chaos: A Complex Adaptive Systems Approach to Adult Second Language Development. 

Scholarship / research  

In addition to teaching, I maintain an ongoing interest in both action research and experimental research. Up to the end of 2014, my conference presentations focused on elements of academic writing in adult second language learning; future work (2015 onwards) will focus on interactional linguistics and adult second language learning particularly the impact of cultural engagement and developing intercultural competence on so-called 'soft' aspects of adult second language learning e.g. motivation, learner autonomy, learner identity, global citizenship, and communication relevant aspects of the system e.g. intercultural pragmatics. I also retain an ongoing interest in non-CLT (particularly TPR, and CBI) approaches to complex grammar constructions (in particular elements of relative clauses) and approaches to morphology in SLA. This unites my academic training in theoretical linguistics with my profession as a language teacher.

Conference presentations / workshops

Kirkham, D. (forthcoming 2018). 'Making SENSE of many meanings: Pedagogies of polysemy in EFL'. IATEFL Poland, September 21st - 23rd 2018. 

Kirkham, D. (forthcoming 2018). 'Explicating learner autonomy in the classroom: texts, techniques, tasks'. IATEFL Poland, September 21st - 23rd 2018.  

Kirkham, D. (forthcoming 2018). 'Dyadic writing as conversational simulation: using pair-based writing as preparatory work for interactional speaking activities.' Baleap PIM on Speaking 25th June 2018.  

Kirkham, D. (2018) 'Adventures in LanguageLearningLand'. Invited talk to the West Yorkshire Humanist Association. 10th April 2018. 

Kirkham, D. and P Matthews (2018). 'C-ing clearly now: Course designer stance towards content-based instruction' Baleap PIM on 'Stance and Engagement' University of St Andrews, 24th Feb 2018 

Kirkham, D. (2018). 'Ontological and epistemological perspectives on disciplinarity in content-based course design'. Baleap PIM on 'Stance and Engagement' University of St Andrews, 24th Feb 2018

Kirkham, D. (2018). 'A 4Ps Model of Interactive Multiperson Online Language Learning: Pre-conditions, planning, processes, possibilities'. AULC Conference, January 2018  

Kirkham, D. (2017) 'Esperanto: language, legacy and lifestyle choice' Invited talk for Sunday Assembly Leeds. 24th November 2017. 

Kirkham, D. (2017) Exhortative texts. National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) Conference 2017, York 10th November 2017

Kirkham, D. (2017) 'Esperanto: a humanistic language?' Invited talk to the West Yorkshire Humanist Association. 9th November 2017. 

Kirkham, D. (2017). 'A case study of radical content-based instruction': Linguistics Beyond and Within, 5th International Linguistics Conference, John-Paul Catholic University of Lublin, 19th October 2017.

Kirkham, D. (2017). 'Glottalisation'. BALEAP webinar on pronunciation: 'Ten practical ideas for teaching pronunciation in EAP contexts'. 20th September 2017

Kirkham, D. (2017) 'Constructing the spaces between: a collaborative approach to academic writing consultations'. EATAW 2017, Royal Holloway, London, UK, 19th - 21st June 2017. 

Kirkham, D. (2016) 'Writing a CV for Shrek'. National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) Conference 2016, Stratford-upon-Avon, 12th-13th Nov 2016

Kirkham, D. (2016) 'Breaking the fear factor in writing: topic-tangential pre-writing tasks for academic English' European Writing Centres Association (EWCA) Lodz 2016

Kirkham, D. (2016) 'The ideology of individualism in language education: a conceptual framework for experimental research' White Rose Interdisciplinary Summer Conference on Education in the 21st Century (WISE 21) York, 24th June 2016 

Kirkham, D. (2016) 'One for ALLs and ALLs for one: poetry and advanced language learners' Linguistics Beyond and Within, 3rd International Linguistics Conference, John Paul Catholic University of Lublin, 22nd-23rd October 2015

Kirkham, D.  (2015) 'Chunk-by-chunk collaborative creative writing' NAWE Conference 2015, Durham 13-15 November 2015

Kirkham, D. (2015) 'Story writing with exclusive word stories: an engaging technique for developing expression and structure' NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) Skills Sharing Symposium, University of Bolton 4th July 2015

Kirkham D. (2015) ‘Getting 'em out there: cultural engagement and language learning’ IATEFL Conference, Manchester 2015

Hernandez, G. & D. Kirkham (2015) ‘Rounding it out: rethinking end-of-course evaluation (a case study from the Language Centre) Leeds University Student Education Conference, University of Leeds January 2015

Kirkham, D. (2014) ‘Towards an expert-led model of teacher education’ BALEAP PIM on Teacher Education for EAP, Sheffield Hallam University 29th November 2014

Kirkham, D. (2014) ‘Content with content: a CBI-driven approach to academic reading and writing syllabi’ Linguistics Beyond and Within, 2nd International Linguistics Conference in Lublin, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, 6th-7th November 2014 (awarded ‘Best Talk Award’; to be published in conference proceedings, 2015)

Kirkham, D. (2013) ‘Written Corrective Feedback and Complex Grammar Constructions: Metholodogical obstacles and solutions’ Linguistics Beyond and Within, 1st International Linguistics Conference in Lublin, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, 14-16th November 2013

Kirkham, D. (2007) ‘Walk before you write: pre-writing tasks for extended writing’. CETS (Conference for English Teachers and Supervisors) Omani Ministry of Education, Muscat, 10-12 December 2007

Kirkham, D. (2005) ‘Once upon a time to happily ever after: a communicative, story-telling approach to lexis’. IH Prague International English Language Teaching Conference, Akcent International House, Prague, May 2005


Chapters / Proceedings

Kirkham, D. (2017). 'Towards an integrated theory of culture, communication and identity in study abroad English language provision'. In Shahriah, A. and Syed, G. (eds.)

Kirkham, D. (2015). 'Content with Content : a content-based instruction approach to curriculum design and course assessment in academic English for business. Linguistics Beyond and Within 1, 134-151

(Magazine) Articles 

Kirkham, D. (forthcoming 2018). The voiced~voiceless alternation in English fricatives: A case study of linguistically significant pedagogical irrelevance. Journal of Applied Languages and Linguistics. July 2018.

Kirkham, D. (forthcoming). The open door classroom. The Teacher.

Kirkham, D. (forthcoming). 'A pedagogy of polysemy - Part 2'. The Teacher.

Kirkham, D. (2018). 'A pedagogy of polysemy - Part 1'. The Teacher 158.

Kirkham, D. 2018. 'Free writing'. IATEFL Voices 262.  

Kirkham, D. (2018). 'To CLT or not to CLT'. The Teacher 157. 

Kirkham, D. (2018) 'A pedagogy of English compounding - Part 4'. The Teacher, 156.

Kirkham, D. (2018) 'A pedagogy of English compounding - Part 3'. The Teacher, 155.

Kirkham, D. (2018). 'The R8 approach to note-taking'. IATEFL Voices 260.

Kirkham, D. (2017) 'A pedagogy of English compounding - Part 2'. The Teacher, 154.

Kirkham, D. (2017). 'A pedagogy of English compounding - Part 1'. The Teacher, 153.

Kirkham, D. (2017). Esperanto. In Unravel Magazine 10.

Kirkham, D. (2017). 'Encountering Conlangs'. Babel Magazine Issue 18.

Kirkham, D. and A. Riley (2017).  'Topic Sentences'. The Teacher 145.

Kirkham, D. (2017). 'Focus on Esperanto: a contemporary lingua franca'. Languages Today, 2017(1)

Kirkham, D. (2016). 'In Praise of Pragmatics'. The Teacher 143. 

Kirkham, D. (2016). 'Grappling with Grammar'. The Teacher 142.

Kirkham, D. (2016) 'Form-function pairings in multiple reading verbs: a linguistically informed pedagogy'. The Teacher 137.

Kirkham, D. (2015) 'Sailing the 7Cs: a grammar-lite approach to adult second language learning', IATEFL Voices 244

Kirkham, D. (2015) 'Developing teacher development: an expert-driven approach', English Teaching Professional 97, March 2015

Kirkham, D. (2015) 'Some cLArity for the LAnguage cLAssroom', IATEFL Voices 243

Kirkham, D. (2015) ‘The UG-ly Tyranny of Chomsky’, IATEFL Voices 242

Kirkham, D. (2014) ‘From Ear to ‘There!’: teaching pronunciation grammar through dialogues’ IATEFL Voices 241

Kirkham, D. (2007) ‘The Trinket Principle: a thing of beauty is a joy forever’ IATEFL Issues 197

Kirkham, D. (2004) ‘Honesty’, IATEFL Issues 182

Kirkham, D. (2003) ‘Classroom chat: a liturgical approach’ IATEFL Issues 179

Other 'publications' (for fun; poetry and prose; tangentially related; journalism)

Kirkham, D. (2018 onwards) Various contributions to the satirical linguistics magazine Speculative Grammarian

Kirkham, D. (2017). Grammar Ditty. Leeds Language Scholar vol 2. 

Kirkham, D. and J. Warren (2017). Ekskurseto al Northallerton. La Blanka Rozo 278. Autumn 2017. 

Kirkham, D. (2016). In this Garden.  Nature Writing. Available at

Kirkham, D. (2004). Slovak Spectator article.

Unpublished manuscripts (available on

Kirkham, D. (2013) ‘Focused written corrective feedback and non-discrete grammar: from grammatically discrete to grammatically non-discrete correction’

Kirkham, D. (2012) ‘Focused written corrective feedback of derivational suffixes and uptake-facilitating tasks’