Professor Keith Johnson

Emeritus Professor

Research Interests


In his early career, Keith taught in Yugoslavia, Italy, and at the Royal University of Malta. In 1974 he went to the University of Reading, as one of the first three members of the Centre for Applied Language Studies. He later moved to Reading University’s Department of Linguistic Science. He became Senior lecturer at the University of Essex in 1990.

Keith moved to Lancaster University in 1994. He took retirement in 2008 and is now a full-time academic author. He has been visiting professor at the University of Vienna, the Hong Kong Institute of Education (now the Education University of Hong Kong), and the University of Huddersfield.

Keith was founding editor of the journal Language Teaching Research (Sage Publications).


Keith has travelled widely as a consultant, and has been involved in various language teaching projects, including the Bangalore Procedural Syllabus project. A main interest has been in the study of language teaching expertise - areas of expertise shown by language teachers and others working in the language teaching profession (task designers, materials writers, textbook evaluators etc.). He has been involved in a number of externally funded research projects in this area: looking at expertise in task design (as part of a team supported by the ESRC, then individually supported by The Leverhulme Trust); looking at the practices of expert teachers of non-language skills (e.g. teachers of music, sports) and considering their implications for the language teacher (supported by the AHRC). Keith's work in expertise has been taken forward by the research group known as LATEX, for LAnguage Teaching EXpertise research group. Click on LATEX for further information.

In recent years, his interests have been in Shakespeare’s language, and the history of English.


Keith has written more that 15 books, and over 50 articles. Among his books related to language teaching are The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching (edited with C.J. Brumfit), Communication in the Classroom (edited with K. Morrow), and Communicative Syllabus Design and Methodology. His most recent publications are Language Teaching and Skill Learning (Blackwell, 1998), Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics: A handbook for language teaching (Blackwell, edited with H. Johnson, 1999), Designing Language Teaching Tasks (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), Expertise in Second Language Learning and Teaching (Palgrave Macmillan, edited, 2005), and An Introduction to Foreign Language Learning and Teaching: Third Edition (Routledge, 2018).

His recent publications related to Shakespeare’s language, and the history of English are Shakespeare’s English (Routledge, 2013), The History of Early English (Routledge, 2016), Shakespeare’s Language: Perspectives Past and Present Routledge, 2019), The History of Late Modern Englishes (Routledge, 2021).

Keith’s personal website is He can be contacted at