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Prof John Gray
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
20 Bedford Way
Prof John Gray profile picture
  • Professor of Applied Linguistics and Education
  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
  • UCL Institute of Education

I am Professor of Applied Linguistics and Education in the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics. I have a first degree in English from Trinity College, Dublin and a Master's degree and a PhD from the University of London (IOE). My background is in English language teaching and English language teacher education. I worked in Spain from 1984-1998, before moving into higher education.

I am the author of The Construction of English: Culture, Consumerism and Promotion in the ELT Global Coursebook (2010) and Critical Perspectives on Language Teaching Materials (2013), both published by Palgrave Macmillan. I am also the author, along with David Block and Marnie Holborow, of Neoliberalism and Applied Linguistics (2012), published by Routledge. Social Interaction and English Language Teacher Identity (2018), written with Tom Morton, was published by Edinburgh University Press. 

From 2005-2007 I was a committee member of the Association for the Promotion of Quality in TESOL Education, and from 2009-2011 I was an executive committee member of BAAL (British Association for Applied Linguistics). I am a member of the editorial board of Classroom Discourse (2012-present), a peer reviewer for Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) (2014-present), and a member of the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Peer Review College (2015-present).

Research Groups
Research Summary

My research interests are in the global spread of English, with a particular focus on the promotion and marketization of English (and other languages) in late modernity; the ways in which neoliberal ideology plays out in language teaching and language teacher education; language teacher identity; and issues of gender and sexuality in language teaching and beyond.

From 2013-2015 I was the principle investigator on the ESRC funded seminar series Queering ESOL: towards a cultural politics of LGBT issues in the ESOL classroom (ES/L001012) (website: https://queeringesol.wordpress.com/). See conference presentations here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsAJ5Wsz77g and here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM33jXbTbo3Vmj7J5BIhbiQ). The series sought to explore from a multidisciplinary perspective the key issues affecting LGBT English language students in further education and to identify how best to address their needs and those of LGBT teachers in the light of new institutional frameworks established by the 2010 Equality Act. 

Recent publications include:

Gray, J. (2022). Some thoughts on the state we are in: a rejoinder to 'Between professionalism and political engagement in foreign-language teaching practice'. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice,16 (3), 376-383. doi:10.1558/jalpp.21086

Yeung, S. and Gray, J.(2022) ‘Neoliberalism, English, and spoiled identity: The case of a high-achieving university graduate in Hong Kong’. Language in Society. doi:10.1017/s0047404522000203


Gray, J. (2022) ''When you don't see yourself on the page, it's harder to imagine yourself as a person' - gender and sexuality in ELT'. JACET Journal, 66:21-28


Dafouz, E. and Gray, J. (2022) 'Rethinking the roles of ELT in English-medium education in multilingual university settings: an introduction'. ELT Journal, 76 (2): 163-171.

Teaching Summary

I contribute to the following MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics modules: Sociolinguistics and Sociocultural Theory; Materials Development for Language Teaching; Language and Identity.

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