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Mr Peter Mickan

Biography/ Background

Peter Mickan is Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Linguistics. He manages the postgraduate Applied Linguistics program at the University of Adelaide. He teaches undergraduate students Language Learning, and postgraduate Applied Linguistics courses in Language and Learning, English for Academic Purposes, and Language Teaching in Specific Settings.

Theoretically his work is based on Halliday's language as a social semiotic and learning as socialisation experiences. The theory frames his studies in curriculum design, in languages pedagogy, in academic literacies, in language and literacy, in workplace communication, and in language assessment.

His most recent publication is Language Curriculum Design and Socialisation (2012) Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Brief career overview

  • Teacher of German and English languages in secondary schools in South Australia and Germany;
  • Project Director in the Curriculum Directorate of the South Australian Education Department with responsibility for languages policy implementation, curriculum development and inservice training of languages teachers;
  • Lecturer in postgraduate TESOL program in the University of South Australia with specialisations in second language acquisition and qualitative research methodologies; Project Officer for the National Language and Literacy Institute of Australia;
  • Head of Discipline and Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Adelaide, with responsibility for introduction and management of Applied Linguistics program and PhD supervision.


Ph.D (Applied Linguistics) - Macquarie University

Master of Education (Honours) - Wollongong University

Diploma of Education - Flinders University

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - University of Adelaide

Teaching Interests

Peter supervises a large research group of doctoral and masters students' investigations into text-based teaching and curriculum design; academic literacies and interdisicplinary studies; IELTS assessment; inquiry-based teaching; bilingual upbringing of children; and revival linguistics with a focus on heritage speakers of German in the Barossa Valley.

Research dissertations supervised:

Guan Eng, Ho (2003) Exploring the socio-cultural structure of formal ESL instruction in classroom talk: a case study of a secondary school in Brunei

Sornchai, Mungthaisong (2003) Constructing EFL literacy practices: a qualitative investigation in intertextual talk in Thai university language classes.

Ward, Maurice (2004) Contracting participation out of union culture: patterns of modality and interactional moves in a labour contract settlement.

Fazelimanie, Ayatollah (2004) A linguistic analysis of some ESP texts used in Iranian universities with special focus on cohesion in texts of business and commerce.

Abu Bakar, Nadzrah (2005) Computers for teaching English as a second language (secondary school) in Malaysia: a case study.

Yu, Shu-Hui (2006) Listening and speaking skill development in a Taiwanese tertiary EFL context: Manipulating power-in-interaction for participation.

Lim, Mi-ok (2007) Exploring social practices in English classes: a qualitative investigation of classroom talk in a Korean secondary school.

Moghaddam, Sharif (2010) Students' preparation for IELTS: development of written and oral argumentative texts.

Teramoto, Hiromi (2010) New-arrival-ness as a social construct: a qualitative case study.

Zoghi, Aramesh (2011) Aims, expectations and caring in Australian year 12 ESL: a case study of curriculum and classroom practice.

Tariq, Elyas (2011) Diverging identities: a 'contextualised' exploration of the interplay of competing discourses in two Saudi university classrooms.

Srinon, Udom (2011) A longitudinal study of developments in the academic writing of Thai university students in the context of a genre based pedagogy.

Poh Yoke Chu, Celine (2011) Picture book reading in a new arrival context: a multimodal perspective on teaching reading.

Cominos, Nayia (2011) Managing the subjective: Exploring dialogistic positioning in undergraduate essays.

Vo, Duc Vuy (2012) A discourse analysis of English-Vietnamese news reports.

Research Interests

Peter Mickan's research is based theoretically on social theory and language as a social semiotic. The theory frames his studies in adult literacy, in education, in workplace communication, in assessment and in curriculum design. He is currently directing research projects on:

  • Language curriculum design and text-based teaching;
  • Academic literacies and interdisciplinary studies;
  • First and second language socialisation and learning;
  • Language proficiency assessment (IELTS research projects);
  • Language maintenance and revival (Indigenous language, Ngarrindjeri, Barossa German); 
  • Bilingualism and bilingual education.



Mickan, P (2012) Language curriculum design and socialisation. UK: Multilingual Matters.

Mickan, P., I. Petrescu & J. Timoney (Eds) (2006) Social practices, pedagogy and language use: studies in socialisation. Adelaide: Lythrum Press

Key publications:

Book chapters:

Mickan, P. 2011. Text-based teaching: Theory and practice. In S.Fukuda & H. Sakata (eds) Monograph on Foreign Language Education. Tokushima, University of Tokushima: 161-25

Mickan, P. 2004. Teaching methodologies. In C. Conlan (ed). Teaching English in Australia: theoretical perspectives and practical issues. Perth, WA.: API Network, Australia Research Institute: 171-191

Mickan, P. 2004. Teaching strategies. In C. Conlan (ed). Teaching English in Australia: theoretical perspectives and practical issues. Perth, WA.: API Network, Australia Research Institute: 193-214

Mickan, P. 2003 .'What's your score?' An investigation into language descriptors for rating written performance. In Lindy Hyam (ed) International English Language Testing System Research Reports, Vol 5. Canberra, IELTS Australia Pty Ltd:125-157

Mickan, P. 2003. Beyond grammar: text as unit of analysis. In J. James (ed). Grammar in the language classroom: changing approaches and practices. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre: 220-227

Mickan, P. and J. Motteram. 2009. The preparation practices of IELTS candidates: Case studies. In J. Osborne (ed.) IELTS Research Reports Volume 10, Canberra, IELTS Australia Ltd: 223-262

Mickan, P. & J. Motteram. 2008. An ethnographic study of classroom instruction in an IELTS preparation program. In J. Osborne (ed.) IELTS Research Reports Volume 8. Canberra, IELTS Australia Ltd: 17-43

Mickan, P. and S. Slater. 2003. Text analysis and the assessment of academic writing. In R. Tulloh (ed) International English Language Testing System Research Reports, Vol 4. Canberra, IELTS Australia Pty Ltd: 59-88

Refereed journal papers

Teramoto, H. and Mickan, P. 2008. Writing a Critical Review: Reflections on Literacy Practices. Language Awareness. Vol. 17, No. 1: 44-56.

Mickan, P. 2007. Doing Science and Home Economics: Curriculum socialisaiton of New Arrivals in Australia. Language and Education, 21:2, 107-123.

Mickan, P., K. Lucas, B. Davies, M. Lim. (2007) Socialisation and contestation in an ESL class of adolescent African refugees. Prospect 22,2: 4-24.

Mickan, P. 2006. Socialisation through teacher talk in an Australian bilingual class International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 9:3.

Conference presentations

Mickan, P. & K. Katsmann. 2012 German language attrition in the Barossa Valley in South Australia: a social semiotic analysis of language loss. Paper presented at the international conference Deutsche Gemeinschaft für Sprachen, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main 7-9 March 2012

Mickan, P. 2012. Managing academic literacy practices in specific disciplinary courses: Investigations into students' learning subject specific knowledge*. ERGA Workshop Presentation, Adelaide University, September 2012
*audio and slideshow viewable from approx. 23:00

Mickan, P., I. Winter & H. Teramoto Authentic and explicit research culture: Students' induction into research. ERGA Workshop Presentation, Adelaide University, September 2012

Professional Associations

Editorial Board Member

Language and Education
TESOL in Context
Iranian Journal of Language Studies

Community Engagement

Academic Board Member

Australian Lutheran College, Adelaide, South Australia

Entry last updated: Tuesday, 6 Nov 2012

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