Julian Edge

A Reflection-on-Action

A Reflection-on-Action

Hello and welcome,

Given the wonderful possibilities of language, I can happily tell you that I am almost the newest and certainly the oldest member of the LTE team, having started teaching English (in Jordan) in September 1969 and having arrived here in Manchester in September 2005. Mind you, when I say, ‘arrived here in Manchester,’ I should also say that I studied for my Diploma in Teaching English Overseas in the academic year 1971/72, just four doors down the corridor from my present office. There is a point to be noticed there about the passage of time, how it is both linear and cyclical. This is a point that one might think hardly needs to be made to teachers, most of whom live anyway in a world where years pass and the numbers attached to them increase one after the other (2007, 2008, 2009, etc.), but the first-year students are always the first-year students, the elementary students still make the same mistakes, and the washback effects of that same old exam remain the same, year in, year out.

Excuse me if I slip too easily into philosophy; it’s an age thing. Yet the fact remains that what intrigues me most is not abstractions, but the nagging, fundamental question of the anglo-saxon, pragmatic tradition, ‘So what?’

So what? Well, it seems to me that if we see the linear development of our professional lives (and therefore a great percentage of the time that we shall spend in our present format on this planet) as being built out of a series of cyclical experiences, then this ought to have some effect on how we understand that development to be taking place, and how we might engage in the conscious steering of that life experience.

At this stage, it may not surprise you (indeed, I hope that it does not) to learn that my main research interests are in teacher development and action research. My interest in discourse analysis may be less obvious, but the connection for me is the need for language to articulate (and thereby make conscious) what has been learnt through the experience of teacher development and the processes of action research. We bring together the linear and the cyclical via our awareness, and bringing things to awareness is profoundly connected with our languaging.

Apart from what I write (see below), I try to keep these interests alive in my teaching of master’s modules in methodology and teacher education, as well as in my supervision of doctoral students.

My geographical identities have been several. Indeed, I nearly didn’t get the job where I stayed longest, as the Vice Chancellor (and head of the appointments panel) was heard to muse, ‘Why has this man had so many jobs?’ I don’t intend to answer that question but, in Britain, I have taught at Aston University and at the universities of Birmingham and Durham. Internationally, I was Research Director at the National Centre for English Language Teaching Research, Macquarie University, Sydney, and I have also taught at the Universities of Alexandria and Istanbul as well as having had rather less prestigious, but equally demanding, TESOL jobs in England, Germany, Singapore and the Lebanon. Short-term engagements have taken me to a number of other countries.

As far as what I have published is concerned, there are two teachers’ handbooks (Edge 1989a, 1993a) that I think have stood the test of time, at least in the sense that I am not embarrassed by what I said then as that relates to now. Because we do live in a fast-moving field, however, I am also pleased to be involved in rewriting the latter of these with a colleague more closely engaged that I am with the daily realities and responsibilities of classroom teaching (Edge & Garton, in preparation)

As for teacher education and development, I am particularly happy about Edge (2002), aspects of which are expressed in Edge (2003a, 2004a, and 2007). This exploration of the use of non-judgemental discourse in professional development is, and will remain, my major motivation and interest. Other mixes of teacher development and research that interest and motivate me I have tried to catch in Edge (2001) and in Edge & Richards (1993, 1998a, 1998b).

In recent years, I have become engaged in political/ideological elements of our work (Edge 1996, 2003b, 2003c, 2004a, 2006) and am also keen to follow up these interests, most particularly with regard to issues of race, religion, gender and (non)native-speaker identity in our field.

The discourse side of my work, along with attempts to track discourse issues through the above overlapping interests, have been expressed in Edge (1989b, 1993b, 2003d, 2008) and Edge and Wharton 2001, 2002, 2003).

Outside of all this, I play both guitar and tennis with equal amounts of enthusiasm and frustration substituting for skill and talent. Having said that, there was a moment when playing a charity gig at the Yacht Club, Alexandria, in 1976, when I lived the Don Mclean line, ‘I knew if I had my chance, I could make those people dance,’ and no one can take that away from me. I also present below photographic evidence of my success in 2007 in defending my title as over-55 singles champion at the Northern Club, Manchester. To get the inside story on how this came about, however, you would need to know me much better than you do.

Julian’s tennis stardom

That is my hello as of June 2008. I’ll be back.


Edge, J. 1989a. Mistakes and Correction. Harlow: Longman.

Edge, J. 1989b. Ablocutionary value: on the application of language teaching to linguistics. Applied Linguistics 10/4: 407-417.

Edge, J. 1993a. Essentials of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Longman.

Edge, J. 1993b. The dance of Shiva and the linguistics of relativity. Applied Linguistics 14/1: 43-55.

Edge, J. 1996. Cross-cultural paradoxes in a profession of values. TESOL Quarterly 30/1: 9-30.

Edge, J. 2002. Continuing Cooperative Development: A Discourse Framework for Individuals as Colleagues. Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press.

Edge, J. 2003a. Collegial self-development. English Teaching Professional 27: 58-60.

Edge, J. 2003b. Imperial troopers and servants of the lord: A vision of TESOL for the 21st century. TESOL Quarterly 37/4: 701-709.

Edge, J. 2003c. TEFL and international politics: A personal narrative. IATEFL Issues 175:10-11.

Edge, J. 2003d. Alternative discourses in teacher education. Interview in ELT Journal 57/4: 386-394.

Edge, J. 2004a. Professional Development among the troops. Essential Teacher 1/3: 46-48.

Edge, J. 2004b. Of displacive and augmentative discourse, old doubts and new enemies. TESOL Quarterly 38/4: 717-721.

Edge, J. 2007. Developing the community of practice in the Adult Migrant English Program. Prospect 22/1: 3-18.

Edge, J. 2008. Discourses in search of coherence. In (eds.) S. Garton and K. Richards, Professional Encounters in TESOL: Discourses of Teachers in Teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Pp. 232-247.

Edge, J. and Garton, S. (in preparation) Making Your Way in ELT. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Edge, J. and Richards, K. 1998. May I see your warrant, please? — Justifying claims in qualitative research. Applied Linguistics 19/3: 334-356.

Edge, J. and Richards, K. 1998. Why best practice isn’t good enough. TESOL Quarterly 32/4: 569-576.

Edge, J. and Wharton, S. 2001. Patterns of text in teacher education. In (eds.) M. Scott and G. Thompson The Patterns of Text. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 255-286.

Edge, J. and Wharton, S. 2002. Genre teaching: The struggle for diversity in unity. In (eds.) K. Miller and P. Thompson, Unity and Diversity in Language Use. London: BAAL/Continuum. Pp. 22-38.

Edge, J. and Wharton, S. 2003. Research in teacher education: reading it, doing it, writing it. In (eds.) B. Beaven and S. Borg, The Role of Research in Teacher Education. Whitstable: IATEFL/Oyster Press. Pp. 49-53.

Edge, J. (ed.) 2001. Case Studies in Action Research . Alexandria, VA: TESOL Inc.

Edge, J. (ed.) 2006. (Re-)Locating TESOL in an Age of Empire. London: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Edge, J. and Richards, K. (eds.) 1993. Teachers Develop Teachers Research. Oxford: Heinemann.

October 2009

Well, that linear time surely does move along. In this space here, I thought I’d just update what’s been happening on the publications front. Certainly no comment as far as the tennis is concerned. OK, OK, one comment: They reduced the entry age to 45! Does that seem fair? All this talk about the ever-increasing numbers of our ageing population and at my tennis club they reduce the entry age for the seniors competition. Yes, yes, of course I took part, although 0-6, 1-6 is about as brief a part as one can take. Mind you, there was that delirious moment at the beginning of the second set when I was 1-0 ahead …  Now then, where was I?  Ah yes, publications …


Edge, J. & Garton, S. 2009. From Experience to Knowledge in ELT. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Edge, J. 2008. Interested theory and theorising as goal. TESOL Quarterly 42/4: 653-654.



Edge, J. 2008. Making a difference in TESOL professional development. In (eds.) H. Chen & K. Cruickshank, Making a Difference: Challenges for Applied Linguistics. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 171-187.

Edge, J. 2009. Non-judgmental discourse on a road to understanding. In (eds.) S. Canagarajah & M. Wong, Spiritual Dimensions and Challenges in TESOL. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. pp. 21-34.

Clarke, M. & Edge, J. 2009. Building a communicative toolkit for leadership. In (eds.) M. Christison & D. Murray, Leadership in English Language Education. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. pp. 187-199.




January 2011

Well, here we are in 2011 and I thought I’d stop by to update the publications. Not a lot, you might say, but there’s such a thing as quality!

Edge, J. 2010. Elaborating the monolingual deficit, In (eds.) D. Nunan & J. Choi, Language and Culture: Reflective Narratives and the Emergence of Identity. London: Routledge. pp. 89-96.

Edge, J. 2011. The Reflexive Teacher Educator: Roots and Wings. New York: Routledge.

Ah, and I had a bit of a reflective end of an era spell towards the end of 2010, which produced the door decoration that I shall try to upload to this site. Our corridor is really quite jolly with posters these days, as is this website, indeed.

I have definitely quit on the tennis front and have tried to increase the frequency of my jogs along the riverbank. I was surprised to discover that a run that regularly took me about half an hour five years ago now takes a good forty minutes. When I mentioned this to a friend, ho pointed out that the river has increased its temdency to meander a great deal over that time period. Now that, I suggest, is what friends are for.

OK, on with the year. Please check out edgeblog for monthly updates.