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CALS Webinar: ‘A corpus-based discourse analysis of emotion in TESOL Twitter accounts during COVID-19’ Dr Niall Curry, Coventry University and Dr Elaine Riordan, University of Limerick

‘A corpus-based discourse analysis of emotion in TESOL Twitter accounts during COVID-19’


Dr Niall Curry, Coventry University and Dr Elaine Riordan, University of Limerick




Friday 19th March, 14.00, on MS Teams

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted upon language education in many ways, as remote-teaching and learning was forced upon us. In a move to unpack and understand the current education climate, a number of studies have already been undertaken. For example, recent studies have shown how stress and anxiety were heightened for TESOL learners and teachers (Hartshorn and McMurry 2020), reflecting a clear emotional response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. However, other work has focused on the challenges and, in turn, opportunities the pandemic has presented us with, concerning our development of digital pedagogies (Carrillo and Flores 2020). Our research focus aims to cut across these discourses and explore discussions from TESOL practitioners and professionals during this time of crisis. These discussions stem from one of the most used social networking apps, Twitter. During the last decade, there has been an explosion of research drawing on the discourse from Twitter (Johnson et al, 2021) which has a reputation for driving social movements and influencing public opinion (Ray and Tarafdar, 2017).

This paper therefore explores the discourse on Twitter by TESOL organisations regarding pedagogy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and compares this to prominent individual TESOL Twitter users’ discourse. We use corpus-linguistics and discourse analysis to explore the salient features of the discourse produced by organisations versus individual accounts, with a particular focus on emotion and evaluative language. Through our analysis, our study begins to unpack TESOL practitioners mass transition to online teaching and engages in preliminary discussions surrounding practitioner discourses of the evident crisis and digital pedagogies that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic (Adedoyin and Soykan 2020). Based on this discussion, this paper addresses the implications of the findings, and future directions.

Short Bios

Dr Niall Curry is a Lecturer and ASPiRE Fellow at Coventry University. His research is interdisciplinary and centres on the application of corpus linguistic approaches to different areas of applied linguistics. Among these areas is a focus on corpus-based studies of academic writing and metadiscourse in English, French, and Spanish, corpus-based contrastive linguistics, corpus-based studies of language change, corpus-based discourse analysis, and corpus linguistics for TESOL and language teaching materials development. Previously, Niall has worked in industry, at Cambridge University Press, and internationally, at universities in Ireland and France. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Limerick, is a co-editor of the Journal of Academic Writing, and is a Géras International Correspondent. For further details on his background, areas of interest, projects, publications, and ongoing research, see his website.

Dr Elaine Riordan is a lecturer in TESOL in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Here she is involved in English language teacher education and applied linguistics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is Associate Director of the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), and a member the Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies (IVACS) Research Group. Elaine's research interests include English language teaching and teacher education, reflective practice, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, technologies and language teaching/learning and computer-mediated communication. Elaine has published widely in these areas; her monograph, ‘TESOL Student Teacher Discourse. A Corpus-Based Analysis of Online and Face-to-Face Interactions ’ was published in 2018 with Routledge, and her most recent book 'Social Interaction in Language Teacher Education' (with Fiona Farr and Angela Farrell) was published in 2019 by EUP.


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