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Postgraduate Student Profiles

MA Candidates

Anna Noble

Anna Noble

BA, PGDip in Arts, GradDipTchg

Topic: Thinking Processes in Second Language Reading Comprehension.

Research interests: Second language learning, thinking processes in second language comprehension, second language teaching methodology

Anna can be contacted at

PhD Candidates

Khalif Al-Jumah
Rouhollah Askaribigdeli
Ahmad Naveed
Ahmed Tayel
Wei Mao

Khalif Al-JumahKhalifAlJumah

BA in Translation (University of Mosul, Iraq); MA in TESOL (high honours; Oklahoma City University, USA)

: Utilizing Concept-based Instruction to Teaching Pragmatics: The Case of the Speech Act of Request

Research interests
: Teaching L2 pragmatics, concept-based instruction, sociocultural theory, teaching second language writing

Khalif can be contacted at

Rouhollah AskaribigdeliRouhollahAskaribigdeli

BA in English Language Translation (Islamic Azad University, Iran), MA in English Language Teaching (Yasouj University, Iran)

Topic: A Sociocultural Approach to Language Teacher Identity

Research interests: Teacher identity, teacher professional development, sociocultural theory

Rouhollah can be contacted at

Ahmad Naveed A_Naveed

Advanced Diploma in ELT (Forman Christian College, Pakistan), MA in English Literature (International Islamic University, Pakistan), MS in Applied Linguistics (University of Management & Technology, Pakistan)

Topic: Causative Alternation Licensing in Urdu: An Event Structure Account

Research interests: Lexical semantics-syntax interface, bilingual cognition, educational linguistics

Ahmad can be contacted at

Ahmed Tayelahmedtayel

BA in English Language and Literature; PG Diploma in Applied Linguistics; Masters in Applied Linguistics; Fulbright Fellowship

: Teacher Cognition in Teaching Vocabulary

Research interests: Language and culture, language teacher cognition, TEFL, language learning and identity, reflexivity theory

Ahmed can be contacted at

Wei Mao Wei Mao2

BA in English (China West Normal University), GDipSLT (Otago), MA in Applied Linguistics (Victoria University of Wellington)

Topic: An investigation of the Intercultural Dimension of Chinese as a Foreign Language Pedagogy in a New Zealand Adult Beginner Classroom.

Research interests: Chinese as a foreign language teaching, culture teaching in language education, Intercultural language teaching and learning, L2 teaching and learning

Wei can be contacted at

Past Students - Where are they now?

Our PhD graduates

  • Mutahar Al-Murtadha, Cultural and Language Assistant, English Language Partners, Dunedin and Interpreter, Southern District Health Board, Dunedin
  • Max Olsen, traveling and learning Spanish (i.e. not actively searching for work by choice)
  • Jieun Lee. Lecturer in Korean writing at Humanitas College within Kyung Hee University, Korea
  • Joanna Selamat, lecturer, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
  • Blake Turnbull, PhD student in linguistics, Kyoto University, Japan
  • Michael Pryde, teacher, University of Otago Language Centre
  • Ryoko de Burgh-Hirabe, lecturer in Japanese, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Christchurch Polytechnic
  • Jenny Zhang, lecturer at the School of Foreign Languages, Guangdong University of Technology, China
  • Joanna Frampton, Bible Translator, New Zealand Church Missionary Society, Linguist, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Papua New Guinea
  • Jane Hislop, Lecturer, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Japan
  • Gaye Wall, ESL Teacher, Lincoln University
  • Sally Henderson, ESOL Tutor, Columba College, Dunedin
  • Jo Oranje Assistant Research Fellow, HSFY and International, Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago
  • Zainab Al-Zaghir, Lecturer, Department of English, Komar University of Science and Technology (Iraq)
  • Dennis Zhiming Tay, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Kimihiro Yoshimura, Professor, English Department, Nara University of Education, Japan
  • Imran Ho, Associate Professor, School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Lee-Luan Ng, Lecturer, Department of English Language, University of Malaya, Malaysia
  • Vijay Kumar Malan, Senior Lecturer, HEDC, University of Otago
  • Sunny Kam Yiu Pang, Assistant Professor, English Department, University of Macau, China
  • Rajni Chand, Lecturer, School of Language Arts and Media, University of South Pacific, Fiji

Ian Moodie (graduated August 2015)

Ian’s PhD topic: A grounded theory narrative inquiry of language teacher cognition in South Korea
Primary Supervisor - Dr Anne Feryok
Ian’s current occupation: Assistant Professor (Tenure-track), College of Education, Department of English Education, Mokpo National University, Muan, South Korea

Ian’s experience as a Linguistics PhD student at the University of Otago:
“My experience far outweighed my expectations of doctoral studies. I was flattered that my thesis was placed on the Humanities Divisional List of Exceptional Theses, an achievement made possible only with the valuable input from my supervisors, who gave me the opportunity and guidance to succeed. Not only did I receive a top-notch education and support from the department, I also had the time of my life! Dunedin is a delightful university town with a lot to offer. I wouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with the department to share your ideas for research.”

Ian can be contacted at

Songyut Akkakoson (graduated May 2011)

Songyut’s PhD topic: Raising the Comprehension Skills of Thai Tertiary Teaders of English Through Strategies-Based Instruction.
Primary Supervisor – Dr Moyra Sweetnam Evans
Songyut’s current occupation: Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Thailand

Songyut’s experience as a Linguistics PhD student at the University of Otago:
"My PhD experience at Otago is about much more than enjoying learning to do deep work in my area of interest. I met my beloved supervisor who contributed her invaluable advice, guidance, feedback and support with patience and kind understanding to my success. I also met other lovely postgraduate colleauges who helped revitalise my student life abroad with great friendship. These will always be remembered."

Songyut can be contacted at

Loi Chek Kim (Cheryl Loi) (graduated May 2011)

Cheryl’s PhD topic: Research Article Introductions in Chinese and English: A Comparative Genre-Based Study.
Primary Supervisor – Dr Moyra Sweetnam Evans
Cheryl’s current occupation: Senior lecturer, University Malaysia Sabah

Cheryl’s experience as a Linguistics PhD student at the University of Otago:
"This was my first experience studying overseas and it was a very rewarding one. The resources provided by the University of Otago (library and departmental facilities, PhD workshops, conference funding, seminars, helpful supervisors, etc.) facilitated my PhD research very much and helped me stay motivated in my work. I could not have wished for a better university and better support given by my supervisors."

Cheryl can be contacted at

Some of Our MA Graduates

  • Mellanie Hodge, Case Manager, ACC, Tauranga
  • Marie-Christin Kuepper (to be submitted September 2017), Policy Analyst, Ministry of Education, Wellington
  • Sonya Hamel, Teacher, University of Otago Language Centre
  • Farah Rahman, Lecturer, Academy of Language Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Malaysia
  • Sarah Bowen (nee Mearns), Teacher, University of Otago Language Centre

Some of Our Honours and Postgraduate Diploma Graduates


  • Doing an MA degree in speech therapy at University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
  • Teaching at secondary schools in New Zealand
  • Studying for their MA degrees at Otago

Some of Our Graduate Diploma in Language Teaching Graduates

Losang Dawa, Teacher, University of Otago Language Centre

Some of Our Linguistics and Linguistics/English Major Graduates

  • Studying for an MEd degree in English language teaching in Seoul, Korea.
  • Studying for their honours and MA degrees at Otago
  • Teaching at secondary schools in New Zealand
  • Rachel Tancred, Teacher, University of Otago Language Centre

Some of Our TESOL Minor Graduates

  • Teaching English in Korea, New Caledonia, South America, Europe, China
  • Teaching English on the JET programme in Japan

How Studying Linguistics and TESOL helped me after graduation

Naomi Johnstone:

"The Linguistics papers I took at university, which focused on second language acquisition and teaching English as a second language (TESOL), have held me in good stead for law and policy work overseas and in New Zealand. During the 6 months United Nations internship I undertook in post-tsunami Aceh (Indonesia), language acquisition skills helped me to quickly gain a working understanding of bahasa Indonesia - which was a valuable professional asset, while TESOL training better equipped me to teach English to local staff. While undertaking research on access to justice in Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) an understanding of linguistics helped me to pick up basic Melanesian pidgin and recognise how translation difficulties would affect my research. In my current position as Research Counsel in Chief Judge's Chambers (Waitangi Tribunal and Maori Land Court) an understanding of te reo Maori and linguistics is extremely valuable.