National Teaching Fellow 2008
Institute at the time of award: Institute of Education, University of London
Catherine Walter is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Linacre College, University of Oxford. At the time of her National Teaching Fellowship award, Catherine was Lecturer of Applied Linguistics and an Equal Opportunities Coordinator at the Institute of Education, University of London (IOE). She is a writer of award-winning English language teaching books. A commitment to helping learners and teachers to access wider communities links these roles.
Thousands of teachers and millions of students know Catherine as the co-author with Michael Swan of ground-breaking English language books like The New Cambridge English Course and The Good Grammar Book: books that respect the language, the learner and the teacher. Professor Ron Carter of Nottingham University says that Catherine’s books “have influenced teachers throughout the world. Few teachers have achieved such exemplary levels of excellence or had a greater impact on their field”.
By advising the British Council and by nurturing international language teaching networks such as the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, Catherine has promoted better global communication through greater access to good English teaching.
In the IOE’s campus-based MA in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Catherine succeeded in building a more active student community by introducing blended learning. In the campus-based and distance learning MAs, she introduced variety in assessment tasks and an innovative dialogic approach to comments on drafts of course work. She developed Institute-wide materials to motivate and clarify the rules for citing sources, giving students tools to help them join the community of academic writers.
Catherine is keen to give doctoral students a voice in the research community, and her workshops on presenting academic papers at international conferences are eagerly attended by doctoral students from across the Bloomsbury Colleges.
As Faculty Equal Opportunities Coordinator, Catherine fostered a faculty community where respect is fundamental to communication between academics, professional staff and students. She helped staff and students develop the awareness and knowledge to interact sensitively with members of diverse groups. Catherine’s Dean of Faculty, Professor Chris Husbands, commented:
“Drawing on her own exceptional inter-personal skills, and her passionate commitment to the needs of learners, she has won the commitment of staff and brought about significant institutional change.”
Lecturer in Applied Linguistics
University of Oxford (Linacre College)