Our community of teacher educators conducts research, teaches and advocates in areas related to language, literacy and culture across the entire education system. We also research and teach children’s literature, multimodal digital literature and advocate for multimodal literacy education to prepare children for compelling literacy skills in the digital era. We have specific expertise in school-age education as well as adult, community and higher education.

We have a rich experience gained from working with diverse language and cultural groups, including linguistic minorities, immigrant and refugee communities, transnational students, EAL/D (English as an additional language/dialect) /EFL (English as foreign language)/ESL (English as second language) students, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples. We are acutely aware of the politics of colonisation and assimilation and issues of educational disadvantage, and our work seeks to resist the disenfranchisement that these politics cause.

We explore how deficit framings – set against dominant assumptions about educational background, linguistic heritage, affiliation and expertise, and student and family capacity – create implicit and explicit barriers for engagement and success in multilingual educational communities in Australia and internationally. We identify ways to empower students, teachers, teacher educators, curriculum developers and policymakers with critical awareness and resources in response to the challenges associated with language, literacy, literature and culture in education.

Themes and signature projects

  • ARC Linkage project – with Doctor Sally Baker, Professor Massimilano Tani and Dr Claire Higgins

  • Led by Associate Professor Hoa Nguyen Professor Andy GaoDr Dennis AlonzoEmeritus Professor Sue Starfield, Dr Lisa Gilanyi, Dr Hang Nguyen, Trang Hoang.

  • With Doctor Rose Amazan and Associate Professor Kevin Lowe

    Download the project details

  • Led by Doctor Ellen Lee and Doctor Thu Ngo

  • Led by Doctor Thu Ngo and Professor Len Unsworth (ACU)

Research team – who we are

  • Academic staff 




    Theoretical framework 

    Andy Gao


    Language Education Policy (e.g. medium of instruction, CLIL, language curriculum)


    Language Teacher Education


    Language Learning strategies (e.g. SLA)


    Social cultural theory


    Hoa Nguyen


    Language Teacher Education & Professional Development


    Social cultural theory

    Sally Baker


    Equity in higher education

    Academic Literacies and oracy,

    Supporting Culturally and Linguistically Marginalised Migrants and/or Refugees (CALMMR) in higher education

    Educational transitions 



    Refugee education

    Higher education equity


    Critical sociological concepts: 

    • Academic Literacies (Lea & Street)
    • Hospitality (Derrida)
    • Graduate capitals (Tomlinson)
    • ‘Cruel optimism’ (Berlant) 
    • Student engagement (Kahu & Nelson)
    • Wilfulness (Ahmed)


    Thu Ngo


    Multimodal literacy: language, body language, image and sound


    Digital literacy: technology in language teaching & learning


    Language education 


    Children’s literature


    • Systemic Functional Linguistics/ Semiotics
    • Literature studies
    • Film studies




    Honorary staff 

    Casual staff

    • Dr Lisa Gilanyi
    • Dr Sara Mashyekh
    • Katherine Thompson
    • David Coombes
    • Rubee McManus
    • Professor Bonny Norton (University of British Columbia)
    • Professor Jim Cummins (University of Toronto)
    • Professor Constant Leung (King’s College London)
    • Professor Jo Lo Bianco (University of Melbourne) 
    • Professor Brian Paltridge University of Sydney
    • Professor Zhu Hua (University of Birmingham)
    • Professor Yongyan Zheng (Fudan University)
    • Dr Cathie Burgess (USyd) 
    • Associate Professor Neil Harrison (Macquarie)
    • Dr Mairin Hennebry-Leung (University of Tasmania)
    • Dr Laura Grassick (University of Leeds) 
    • Dr Hang Nguyen (Vietnam National University)
    • Dr Lan Anh Tran (Vietnam National University)
    • Dr Obaid Hamid (University of Queensland)
    • Professor Len Unsworth (Australian Catholic University)
    • Felipe Balotin
    • Priyanka Bose
    • Jie Fan
    • Alex Harper
    • Noryani Neni Binti Ahmad Jamain
    • Fernadita Jayanti
    • Jiao Li
    • Ting Liu 
    • Jamila Al Maawali 
    • Hanna Morrison  
    • Eun Kyong Park 
    • Bita Dwi Rahmani 
    • Rodrigo F. Arellano 
    • Junjun Ramdani  
    • Alice Sun 
    • Susanne Stanyer
    • Anna Xavier


    Thesis Topic

    Supervisor 1

    Supervisor 2

    Research interests

    Hengxi Wang

    ESP teacher identity construction in China

    Andy Gao

    Jasper Hsieh


    Noryani Ahmad

    The Implementation of Systemic Functional Linguistics in Enhancing Anakytical Wtiting Skills among ESL Engineering Undergraduates

    Dennis Alonzo

    Chris Davison

    SFL, Second Language Acquisition

    Muhammad Iqwan Sanjani

    Family Language Policy, Translanguaging, Transnational Families, Migrants

    Sally Baker

    Andy Gao

    Language Policy, Multilingualism, Translanguaging

    Bita Dwi Rahmani

    Teacher Feedback Literacy

    Dennis Alonzo

    Chris Davison

    feedback practices, language assessment, language testing, teacher professional development

    Nina Inayati

    Exploring Language Teachers and Learners’ Experience of Online Informal English Language Learning in Indonesian Higher Education Contexts

    Andy Gao

    Hoa Nguyen

    informal language learning, technology in language learning, autonomy in language learning

    Thi Hoa Le

    Professional development for CLIL teachers

    Hoa Nguyen

    Tony Loughland


    Yi Sun

    The Professional Experience of Return TESOL Graduate Teachers in China

    Andy Gao

    Jasper Hsieh

    TESOL pedagogy; teacher education; teacher professional development; educational leadership 

    Yixi Qiu (visiting scholar)

    Transnational teachers' and students' epistemic participation in English medium instruction programs

    Andy Gao

    Yongyan Zheng

    Multilingualism; Language policy & planning

    Minghao Chen

    Dual Roles of parent-teachers in the intersection of family language policy and language education policy

    Andy Gao

    Sue Starfield

    Family language policy

    Priyanka Bose

    Understanding Family Language Policy Using Digital Communications Among Bengali Immigrants in Australia

    Andy Gao

    Sue Starfield

    sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, discourse analysis, thematic analysis, multimodal discourse analysis

    Hui Wang

    Language Maintenance and Shift in Ethnic Russian Families: A Transnational Study on the Russian Chinese Diaspora in China and Australia

    Anikó Hatoss

    Andy Gao

    Sociolinguistics, language shift

    Alice (shuting) Sun

     International students' experiences of and responses to assessment and feedback in Australian universities

    Andy Gao

    Chris Davison

    Assessment and feedback, Higher Education, International student experience

Current activities

  • Online, monthly (complemented by face-to-face seminars pre- and post-COVID19)

  • Online monthly meetings including collaborators in Australia and overseas (complemented by face-to-face seminars pre- and post-COVID19)

Courses and programs

  • Master of Teaching, Bachelor of Education, 
  • Master of Education, Graduate Certificate of Education (TESOL)
  • Master of Educational Leadership
  • MEd (Research), EdD, PhD