The Intentional Dynamics of TESOL

The Intentional Dynamics of TESOL is a monograph that I am co-authoring with Juup Stelma (University of Manchester). The book is under contract, and we expect that it will be published in early 2022.


In the book, we aim to provide an accessible introduction to intentionality, a concept we have been developing in a number of our publications over the last decade. We conceptualise intentionality as a type of driving force that shapes behaviour of individual and collective entities in language education.

To describe the intentional dynamics of TESOL, we draw on two main areas of thinking: ecological theory and complexity (Complex Dynamic Systems Theory). By putting them together, we propose that teachers, learners, groups and organisations operate within a dense web of intentionalities. In the book we put forward a model that synthesises aspects of intentionality and shows how they can produce change in TESOL.


The book is still a work in progress, so more specific information about its contents will appear in this space as it becomes available.

Broadly, the book will consist of three parts. The first part establishes our theoretical perspective. It consists of three chapters, which present background information on ecological theory, complex systems theory and intentionality. A fourth chapter synthesises this information and outlines our proposed model.

The second part uses empirical data to exemplify our proposed model of intentional dynamics. This part contains four chapters that draw on some of our previous publications. In the chapters that make up this part of the book, we re-analyse the data through the lens of the intentional dynamics model, and show how they can produce a picture that is larger than the sum of its parts.

The third part expands our perspective by suggesting practical applications and possible ways forward. The chapters that make up this chapter focus on topics such as on language teaching and learning, teacher professional development, and research informed by our intentional dynamics perspective.