Contact the Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment

Please use the enquiry form to get in touch with CRELLA


Professor Tony Green
Director and Professor in Language Assessment
University of Bedfordshire
Putteridge Bury
Hitchin Road

T: +44 (0)1582 489086

Dr John Field

Reader in Cognition in Language Learning

John Field

John Field has a PhD from Cambridge University on the identification of words in connected speech by first and second language listeners. He has an MA in Linguistics and ELT from the University of Leeds and an MPhil in English and Applied Linguistics from Cambridge University. His undergraduate degree (English Language and Linguistics). was at University College London. He is a trained English language teacher, and holds the Cambridge/ RSA Diploma.

John specialises in Psycholinguistics, with particular reference to the ways in which cognitive psychology can enable a better understanding of second language skills. His main research interest lies in second language listening. He has worked extensively on cognitive validation in language testing, comparing the processes adopted by a candidate under test conditions with those that would be employed in a less constrained real-world context. He welcomes proposals from PhD students wishing to research into:

  • all aspects of second language listening (including intelligibility)
  • academic second language listening
  • cognitive issues in any of the four language skills in a second language
  • cognitive validation in language testing
  • the design and implementation of language teaching materials

Listening in the Language Classroom

John has published widely on second language listening. His most recent book, Listening in the Language Classroom (Cambridge University Press, 2008) has reshaped thinking on the teaching of the skill, and won the international Ben Warren Prize for its contribution to second language studies. He has a strong commitment to making the findings of Psycholinguistics available to readers with an Applied Linguistics background; and has published several introductory books to the field, including a widely used reference work, Psycholinguistics the Key Concepts (Routledge, 2004). He has contributed chapters and entries to many publications, including the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the Language Sciences. He has edited guest issues of academic journals on the role of Psycholinguistics within ELT and on L2 listening. He has just completed a book on testing in second language listening tests, and is currently writing two more: one on Psycholinguistics and second language skills and one an overview of research into second language listening.

Within CRELLA, John has undertaken consultancy work on the testing of listening for a number of major test providers, including Cambridge English, the British Council, Trinity and Password. His recent research work includes an investigation into the effects of double play in L2 listening tests and a project setting primary L2 listening standards for the Ministry of Education in Rwanda. He regularly attends conferences, gives guest lectures and undertakes consultancy work. He conducted a workshop on the testing of listening on behalf of ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) and has recently given invited plenary papers at RELC Singapore, ANUPI Mexico and EALTA.

He is active in the profession. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He was formerly a committee member of BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics) and ran a Psycholinguistics group within the association. He has served on the advisory board of the LLAS (the national study centre for Language and Linguistics) and on an ESRC peer review panel.

Before joining CRELLA, John taught at the University of Reading, where he ran undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Psycholinguistics, Child Language Development and advanced English Grammar, supervised Masters and PhD students and contributed to research training. He was also a Visiting Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge University, where he taught cognitive approaches to second language acquisition and supervised students as part of the MPhil programme in second language research. Previously, he had taught at the University of Liège (Belgium), Kings College London and Birkbeck College London, and supervised students at the Institute of Education.

In another life, John was an ELT teacher trainer and materials writer. He worked with teachers in Belgium, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, China, Hong Kong and Tanzania. He wrote the national coursebooks for Saudi Arabia and skills training materials for Hong Kong. He also designed radio and TV materials for the BBC World Service and for the Chinese Open University.

Bedfordshire University

Staff» Dr John Field