UCL English


Ian Cushing

Email: i.cushing@ucl.ac.uk

External phone: 020 7679 3119

Internal phone: 33119

Office: Foster Court 126



Education and Experience 

BA English Language (Manchester); MSc Phonetics (UCL); MPhil Linguistics and Phonetics (Salford); PGCE (Institute of Education); PhD Applied Linguistics (Aston).

I joined the department in January 2017 as a Teaching Fellow in English Linguistics. Previously, I taught English in a number of UK secondary schools.

Please note that as of the 1 September 2019 I will be taking up a lectureship at Brunel University London, and no longer contactable at my UCL address.

Research Interests

I am an applied linguist who is interested in the links between linguistics and education. More specifically, I am interested in:

  • How theoretical grammars can be adapted for pedagogical purposes.
  • Critical approaches to language policy, particularly in educational contexts.
  • Linguistic discrimination, or linguicism, in schools, and the socio-political reasons for why this emerges.
  • Cognitive linguistics and its applications to education.

Current research projects

  • My doctorate investigated the place of cognitive stylistics as a pedagogical tool for the teaching of literary language in secondary schools (see various publications below).
  • I am at the early stages of a project investigating the nature and implementation of educational language policies in UK schools, particuarly ones which place an emphasis on the 'banning' or 'policing' of either entire languages, or forms of a language.
  • With colleagues from the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield, I am a Co-Investigator on a project working towards exploring the relationship between a child's dialect and their success at school, critically examining and challenging the way that linguistic variation is conceptualised within policy and pedagogy.
  • With colleagues from the University of Portsmouth, I am investigating the kind of ideological functions of various metalinguistic metaphors within discourses of the English language, critically examining the way that English is represented.
  • With colleagues from UCL English, UCL Institute of Education and Durham University, I am an RA on a Nuffield funded project investigating grammar teaching in primary schools at KS1 level (see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/news/2019/jan/new-project-examine-whether-approaches-teaching-6-7-year-olds-grammar-can-help-their-writing). 


I teach various modules on the MA in English Linguistics and on the BA in English Literature.

I teach two courses for teachers: English Grammar for Teachers and Teaching English Grammar in Context. These are designed to give pre- and in-service teachers the opportunity to develop their subject knowledge in linguistics and to explore pedagogical methods for applying linguistics in the classroom.


If you are a teacher and interested in reading any of these publications but do not have institutional access, please email me at i.cushing@ucl.ac.uk.

Journal articles

Cushing, I. (forthcoming). A textured and sensory grammar for the experience of reading. English in Education.

Cushing, I & Giovanelli, M (2019, forthcoming). Integrating language and literature: a text world theory approach. Journal of Literary Education.

Cushing, I. (2019, forthcoming). Resources not rulebooks: metaphors for grammar in teachers' metalinguistic discourse. Metaphor and the Social World 9(2).

Cushing, I. (2018). Grammar policy and pedagogy from primary to secondary school. Literacy 53(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12170

Cushing, I. (2018). Stylistics goes to school. Language and Literature 27(4): 271-285. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0963947018794093

Cushing, I. (2018).'Suddenly, I am part of the poem': texts as worlds, reader-response and grammar in teaching poetry. English in Education 52(1): 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/04250494.2018.1414398

Book chapters

Cushing, I. (forthcoming, 2020). Recontextualising cognitive grammar for school teaching. In: Giovanelli, M., Harrison, C & Nuttall, L (eds). New Directions in Cognitive Grammar and Style. London: Bloomsbury.

Cushing, I. (forthcoming, 2020). Re-telling text-worlds. In: Lambrou, M (ed). Narrative Re-tellings. London: Bloomsbury.

Cushing, I. (forthcoming, 2020). Language teaching and critical language policy. In: Watson, G & Zyngier, S (eds). Literature and Stylistics for Language Learners: Theory and Practice. London: Palgrave.

Hellmuth, S & Cushing, I. (forthcoming, 2019). Grammar and phonology. To appear in Aarts, B., Bowie, J & Popova, G. (eds). The Oxford Handbook of English Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cushing, I & Hellmuth, S. (2016). Phonetics and phonology. In: D. Clayton and M. Giovanelli (eds.) Knowing About Language: Linguistics and the Secondary English Classroom. London: Routledge.


Aarts, B., Cushing I & Hudson, D. (2019). How to Teach Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cushing, I. (2018). Text Analysis and Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cushing, I. (2018). Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Giovanelli, M., Cushing, I., Macrae, A & Titjen, F. (2015). A/AS Level English Language and Literature for AQA Student Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Cushing, I & Aarts, B. (2019). Making grammar meaningful. Teaching English 19: 52-54.

Cushing, I & Brenchley, M. (2017) 10 things every teacher should know about grammar. Times Educational Supplement 5278: 34-40.