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School of Education

Dr William Pearson

Dr William Pearson

Lecturer in Language Education


 +44 (0) 1392 724846

 Baring Court BC216


Baring Court, University of Exeter St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Office hours (Thursdays, 09:00-11:00).

Commencing as Lecturer in Language Education in the School of Education from 1st September 2022.

I am a Lecturer in Language Education at the School of Education, working on the MEd TESOL programme. I started in TESOL back in 2006 and have been very fortunate to work with a wide range of English language learners and teachers in a variety of contexts, including language teaching organisations in the Russian Federation, Singapore, Ethiopia, Korea (Republic of), Qatar, Japan, and the UAE.

I am module leader for Teaching English to Young Learners (EFPM787) and Foreign Language Testing and Assessment (EFPM835). I also deliver sessions on the modules, Language Awareness for TESOL (EFPM267), Issues in English Language Teaching (EFPM313), Principles of Language Learning for TESOL (EFPM266), and supervise students on the Preparing for TESOL Inquiry and Dissertation module (EFPM329).

Prior to taking up this role, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, working with Dr Esmaeel Abdollahzadeh and Professor Debra Myhill on the Writing the Future project. I completed a PhD in Education in 2021 (Supervisors: Dr Susan Riley and Dr Esmaeel Abdollahzadeh), with a project entitled, "Student engagement with teacher written feedback on IELTS Writing Task 2 rehearsal essays". The study explored how four student writers preparing for IELTS (International English Language Testing System) engaged with content- and form-focused written feedback on essays undertaken as simulated practice for the test. I have been a copyeditor for the journal TESL-EJ and am now one of its co-editors.

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0768-8461

ResearchGate Profile

Curriculum vitae


PhD Education

University of Exeter, 2018 – 2021

MSc Educational Research

University of Exeter, 2017 – 2018

MA Applied Linguistics

University of Birmingham, 2014 – 2016

PGCE Secondary Citizenship

Canterbury Christ Church University, 2005 – 2006

BA (Hons) Politics

University of the West of England, 2001 – 2004

Research group links

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Research interests

My main research activities address written feedback on second language writing, particularly in the context of candidate preparation for L2 writing assessments (notably, the International English Language Testing System). I have an interest in the role student engagement plays in untapping the learning potential of written feedback, notably how learners engage affectively, behaviourally, and cognitively with written feedback targeting higher-order textual features such as the response to the task, argumentation, cohesion and coherence, and voice. I am also interested in the powerful effects of beliefs on mediating students’ reactions and responses to content-focused written feedback on L2 writing.

I am also interested in the application of bibliometric/informetric research approaches to applied linguistics, for instance, identifying changes in the focal areas of research through keyword from authors and keyword from abstracts analysis, investigating patterns in successful academic publication through citation analysis, and charting trends in author collaboration.

Research projects

From January to June 2022, I worked with Dr Esmaeel Abdollahzadeh and Professor Debra Myhill on the Writing the Future project.

BAAL Seminar Series at the University of Exeter

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Journal articles

Pearson W (In Press). A comparative study of lexical bundles in IELTS Writing Task 1 and 2 simulation essays and tertiary academic writing. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 15(1). Abstract.
Pearson W (In Press). Review of "The Politics of English Second Language Writing Assessment in Global Contexts" by Todd Ruecker & Deborah Crusan (2018). TESL - EJ, 22(2).
Pearson W (In Press). Utilising Facebook Community Groups for IELTS Preparation: a Thematic Analysis. The Asian EFL Journal, 20(12.2).
Pearson W (In Press). Written Corrective Feedback in IELTS Writing Task 2: Teachers’ Priorities, Practices, and Beliefs. TESL - EJ, 21(4). Abstract.
Pearson WS (2024). Affective, behavioural, and cognitive engagement with written feedback on second language writing: a systematic methodological review. Frontiers in Education, 9 Abstract.
Mirhosseini S-A, Pearson WS (2024). How do language education researchers attend to quality in qualitative studies?. Language Teaching, 1-17. Abstract.
Pearson WS, Abdollahzadeh E (2023). Metadiscourse in academic writing: a systematic review. Lingua, 293 Abstract.
Pearson WS (2023). Test review: High-stakes English language proficiency tests—Enquiry, resit, and retake policies. Language Testing, 40(4), 1022-1035. Abstract.
Ahmed AM, Zhang X, Rezk LM, Pearson WS (2023). Transition markers in Qatari university students' argumentative writing: a cross-linguistic analysis of L1 Arabic and L2 English. Ampersand, 10 Abstract.
Pearson WS (2022). Response to written commentary in preparation for high-stakes second language writing assessment. Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education, 7(1). Abstract.
Pearson WS (2022). Student Engagement with Teacher Written Feedback on Rehearsal Essays Undertaken in Preparation for IELTS. SAGE Open, 12(1), 215824402210798-215824402210798. Abstract.
Pearson WS (2022). Test Review: LanguageCert IESOL B1 (Achiever) SELT. Language Assessment Quarterly, 19(5), 526-537.
Pearson WS (2022). The Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ): a Bibliometric Analysis of the First 99 Issues. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language--TESL-EJ Abstract.


Pearson WS (2024). Research Topics in Applied Linguistics as Keywords from Authors and Keywords from Abstracts: a Bibliometric Study. In  (Ed) A Scientometrics Research Perspective in Applied Linguistics, Springer Nature Switzerland, 113-134.

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I taught English to speakers of other languages from 2006-2017, encompassing general English for adults and young learners, English language assessment preparation, English for academic and specific purposes, and business English.



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Maha Abdullah A Albarrak
  • Nigina Barotova
  • Priyadarsini Indumathi Kumaar
  • Ying Zhou
  • Xingshi Zhou

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