With a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French and motivated by my love of languages and different cultures, the field of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) was an obvious choice for me. Originally from England, I came to Ireland via first Italy and then Israel where I taught and lectured for the first nine years of my career. Following an MA in TESOL/Linguistics, my interest in language learning materials development arose and inspired my PhD research, the thesis later published as a book Designing Authenticity into Language Learning Materials (2005).
Currently I am course director of the Structured PhD TESOL and I lecture on both the Structured PhD TESOL and MA TESOL in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics. My research interests and publications continue in materials development, as well as, more recently, blended learning and problem-based learning. My other publications include Materials Development for TESOL (co-authored with Ivor Timmis, 2015), published within the Edinburgh University Press Textbooks for TESOL series (edited by my colleague Fiona Farr and Joan Cutting of Edinburgh University). Edited books include a volume co-edited with my colleague Professor Angela Chambers Perspectives on Language Learning Materials Development (2010) and the forthcoming Practice and Theory in Materials Development in Language Learning (co-edited with Masuhara and Tomlinson, 2016). Edited volumes to which I have contributed chapters include Developing Materials for Language Teaching (Tomlinson 2013), Applied Linguistics and Materials Development (Tomlinson and Masuhara, 2012) and Second Language Acquisition Research and Materials Development for Language Learning (Tomlinson, 2016). Publications in the area of Blended Learning include a chapter in The Cambridge Guide to Blended Learning for Language Teaching (McCarthy, 2016). I am also editor of the Materials Development Association (MATSDA) journal, Folio http://www.matsda.org.uk/folio.html a journal at the cutting edge of research in this field.
Our increasingly networked world has resulted in a paradigm shift in how people go about learning languages as they have access to boundless online resources and networks, and I believe that that the field of language learning materials development needs to acknowledge and leverage this. Research reported in chapters such as Re-conceptualising materials for the blended language learning environment (in McCarthy 2016) gives an indication of how I will take this into account in my future research.