Personal details

Associate Professor Jennifer Alford
Senior Research Fellow
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Associate Professor in TESOL
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Discipline *
Curriculum and Pedagogy, Cultural Studies, Language Studies
+61 7 3138 3433
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PhD (Queensland University of Technology), Master of Education TESOL (Queensland University of Technology), Grad Dip Education (University of Queensland), Bachelor of Arts (University of Queensland)

Professional memberships
and associations

Editorships and reviewing:

Jennifer is Co-Editor of Literacy Research: Theory, Method & Practice journal (2020-2023) and regularly reviews articles for various journals including English in Australia; Australian Journal of Language and Literacy; English Teaching: Practice and Critique; Critical Inquiry in Language Studies; Asia Pacific Journal of Education; Journal of Literacy Research.

Professional memberships:

  • International Literacy Association (ILA)
  • Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) including QATESOL
  • Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA)
  • Australian Association of Teachers of English (AATE) incuding ETAQ
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)

Discourse Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, Literacy, Critical Literacy, Digital Literacy, Media Literacy, EAL/D, ESL, ELL, TESOL, Bilingualism, Language, Language Teaching, Language Learning, Second Language Teaching, Linguistics, Applied linguistics, Case Study, Critical Case Study, Language and Content Integration, Critical Thinking, Policy, Curriculum, Syllabus, Intercultural understanding

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Jennifer Alford is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice, at QUT. She is a current ARC DECRA Fellow (2021-2023) exploring critical reading with migrant and refugee-background youth in and out of school.

She coordinates and teaches units related to English Curriculum Studies and English as an Additional Language and Dialect EAL/D) in the Bachelor of Education, QUT.

Jennifer’s real world education ‘industry’ experience includes being: a mainstream English/Humanities and ESL teacher in various high schools in Queensland, Australia; an ESL teacher in adult migrant education programs and various private English language colleges (1987-1999); a critical friend for the QCAA English for EAL/D learners senior syllabus design (2016) and QCAA panel member (2019); a regular provider of professional development in schools regarding differentiation for EAL/D learners; backing vocalist on Sue Lewin’s CDs for early childhood education.

Jennifer completed her PhD studies in 2014. The focus of her thesis was teacher knowledge and practice of critical literacy with senior high school EAL/D students. See publications and e-prints. Her PhD thesis has won 3 awards: the 2015 Penny McKay Memorial Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis on Language Education (ACTA/ALAA); a 2015 QUT University Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award; and the 2016 QUT Faculty of Education Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award.  It was also nominated for the Australian Association of Research in Education Ray Debus Award for Outstanding Doctoral work in 2016, and the American Education Research Association Steve Cahir Early Career Award for research on writing and literacies in 2017.   In 2010, she was a core member of the organising committee for the successful Biennial International Conference for the Australian Council of TESOL Associations. From 2013-2016, she was an organising member of the joint QUT-IPGKIK  Outward Mobility 2 wk Study Tour program for QUT B.Ed students to Malaysia (NCP funded from 2016).

Visiting scholar positions  – April 3-15, 2017. Gothenburg University, Sweden – Dep’t of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies (IDPP). Dec, 2019: Gothenburg University, Uppsala University (Sweden), Stavanger University, Norway.

Research Grants 

ARC DECRA (2021-2023):  Enhancing critical reading with migrant and refugee-background youth.(Lead CI).

QUT Faculty of Education Discovery Seed Funding Grant (2019). Project title: English teachers negotiating syllabus and assessment change. with CI Dr Sherilyn Lennon (adjunct senior lecturer, Griffith University) and CI Danielle Gordon (QUT).

QUT Faculty of Education Discovery Seed Funding Grant (2015). Project title: How long does it take to achieve academically in a second language? Investigating variables that impact academic outcomes for ESL learners in Queensland primary and secondary schools. with Lead CI Dr Margaret Kettle (QUT), CI Dr Sue Creagh (UQ) and CI Professor Barbara Comber (QUT),


This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Jennifer Alford.


Jennifer’s teaching includes:

  • Core B.Ed units on working with EAL/D learners in mainstream classrooms.
  • Secondary English curriculum units in B.Ed and Master of Teaching programs.
  • Various undergraduate electives in the ESL/languages area and in Sociology of Education.
  • Professional short courses for overseas trained teachers – Hong Kong University; Jiangsu Education Dept and China Scholarship Council.
  • CDA for Education researchers – Doctoral students’ intensives.

Her sustained teaching excellence is evident in the following achievements:

In 2018, Jennifer was part of a team that won a QUT Faculty of Education Real World Team teaching Award.

In 2017, Jennifer led a teaching team that won a 2017 Faculty of Education Real World Team Teaching award in recognition for their work in making strong links to the QUT 2020 Teaching and Learning vision, and for preparing classroom-ready pre-service teachers.

In 2012, Jennifer was nominated by a cohort of international students for a Vice Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Teaching.

In 2010, Jennifer was part of the Languages Education Team which was awarded a Teaching Excellence Award by the Faculty of Education at QUT. This award acknowledges sustained outstanding student evaluations of teaching, and team collaboration to produce effective, innovative pedagogy for diverse learners.

In 2009, Jennifer was awarded a QUT Faculty Teaching and Learning Scholarship of Teaching Award for her involvement in the production of a DVD to support international students on field experience in schools (practicum) and the publication of associated research papers (see Publications).

Off shore teaching includes: Chicago, Illinois, US –  AERA Annual Meeting full day Professional Development Course – Critical Discourse Analysis Theory and Method. April 16, 2015; Chaoyang, Beijing, PRC – Chaoyang District Teacher Training Institute. Topic: ‘Student Centred Learning’.  Aug 23 – Sept 6 , 2014.

What do students say about Jennifer’s teaching?  Semester 2, 2017:
Jen’s teaching was excellent. She was extremely knowledgeable, organised,
positive, warm and encouraging. She was able to cater to students from a range of
backgrounds, and uniquely able to teach us how to do the same. I feel so much
more confident as a beginning practitioner having been in her class. She was
I learned so much from Jen – an outstanding teacher that I can only hope to one day emulate.
A great learning experience that was very applicable to ‘real world’ situations. Thank you 🙂
The way Dr Alford integrated teaching methods that we can use in the high school
classroom into her weekly seminars was excellent – teaching by example.
Thoroughly enjoyable and educational.
Jen had a fantastic way of modelling what was being taught. She was a very
conscientious teacher who clearly cared about her students’ learning.
This is the second time I have had Jen as a lecturer and she is an incredible teacher
who really helped me in a subject that I felt incompetent in. She scaffolds her
lessons appropriately, endeavours to ensure there is a clear understanding and
provides activities and learning experiences which are highly valuable to my
learning. She is highly encouraging, supportive and helped me to achieve more than I thought I would in the subjects I used to struggle in.
I wish I could have another unit with her. An amazing and inspiring teacher.

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Jennifer Alford.


Jennifer’s real world teaching engagement includes 12 years of teaching in high schools and in adult second language education institutions, and 16 years in Higher Ed. She also regularly conduct workshops for teachers in schools on the following topics: Second language acquisition; Curriculum design and enactment; Teaching strategies for EAL/D learners across the school curriculum; Critical literacy: theory and approaches; Pre-service teacher education re EAL/D learners in schools.
Selected Conference Presentations

  • Alford, J., Schmidt, C., & Lyngfelt, A. (2017). The importance of teachers’ professional histories in achieving agency for social change. Presented at Re-imagining Education for Democracy Summit, University of Southern Queensland, Nov 2017. (Accepted for special book edited by Michael Apple and Stewart Riddle).
  • Alford, J. (2017). Re-imagining critical literacy amid the de-democratisation of education: lessons from policy in five global contexts. Presented at Re-imagining Education for Democracy Summit, University of Southern Queensland, Nov 2017.
  • Alford, J., Schmidt, C & Lau, S. (2017). Critical Literacy across Continents: Breaking traditional dichotomies in reading pedagogies. CSSE Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference Symposium, Toronto, Canada.
  • Alford, J., Schmidt, C & Lau, S. (2016). Enacting critical literacy at the intersection of instructional models and local policy: classroom practice in Sweden, Canada and Australia. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) international conference – Transforming Education Research, Melbourne, Australia, Nov 27-Dec 1, 2016.
  • Alford, J. (2016). Assembling critical literacy with high school English language learners: exploring power in the territory beyond reason. In Symposium for Writing and Literacies SIG:  Literacy as a Body Without Organs: Democratic Assemblages, Multiplicities, And Intensities Of Multimodal Practices.  American Education Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting – Public Scholarship to Educate Diverse Democracies. Washington, DC.
  • Kettle, M., Creagh, S., Alford, J., Lampert, J., Burnett, B., Thompson, G & Ferguson, A., Comber, B. (2016). Symposium for Politics and Policy and in Education SIG: Policy-makers and researchers partnering for mutually beneficial outcomes: Projects, priorities and processes. Presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) international conference – Transforming Education Research, Melbourne, Australia, Nov 27-Dec 1, 2016.
  • Alford, J., & Woods, A., (2015). Constituting ‘at risk’ literacy and language learners in teacher talk: exploring the element of time. Paper presented in symposium titled: The production of school success and failure over time: tracing the trajectories of ‘at risk’ learners, with Hayes, D., Talbot, D., & Comber, B., at Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) international conference, Fremantle, Western Australia, Dec 2015.
  • Alford, J., & Neilsen, R. (2015). Language-aware teachers: the next generation. Invited keynote for the Centre for Teaching and Learning Languages (CTaLL) and the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation (CREFI) at Deakin University (Melbourne) – Language Teaching and Learning Seminar series – August 13, 2015.
  • Kettle, M., Ryan, M.E., & Alford, J. (2015). Applying Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in Education research: theory, rigorous method and possibilities for application. Professional Development workshop (whole day) at American Education Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting – Towards Justice: Culture, Language and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis. Chicago, USA. April, 2015.
  • Alford, J., and Sobyra, A. (2014). Recontextualising English language teaching policy: teachers as mediators of genres of power. Paper presented at the Inaugural QUT HDR Conference, Brisbane, QUT Oct 11, 2014.
  • Alford, J. (2014). Recontextualising Critical Literacy for EAL/D learners in senior English: from curriculm to classroom. ACTA International Conference, Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, Australia. October 2104.
  • Hepple, M., Sockhill, M., Tan, A., and Alford, J. (2014).  Experimenting with Claymation : how can multimodal pedagogy assidt low-level literacy adolescent, English language learners? ACTA International Conference, Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, Australia. October 2014.
  • Alford, J. & Windeyer, A. (2013). Teaching reading comprehension across the national curriculum with EAL/D learners: are we brave enough to really take it on? Paper presented at the . ALEA/AATE national conference July 2013. Brisbane, QUT.
  • Alford, J. (2013). Standing brave in the face of rapid curriculum change: EAL/D teachers speak about critical literacy and its place in senior English teaching.Paper presented at the ALEA/AATE national conference. July 2013. Brisbane, QUT.
  • Alford, J. (2009). Teaching English as an additional language in senior high school: critical discourses in critical times. Paper presented at the Discourse and Cultural Practices Conference, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, July 2009.
  • O’Gorman, L., D. Tangen and J. Alford, (2009). Crossing Borders into field experience:providing support to international pre-service teachers in the field. Paper presented at the Australian Teacher Educators’ Association Conference. Albury-Wodonga, June 2009.
  • Campbell, M., L. O’Gorman, D. Tangen, R. Spooner-Lane and J. Alford (2008). Ethical Issues in Assessing International Pre-service Teachers during the Field Experience: A pilot study. Paper presented at the Australian Association of Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Brisbane 2008.
  • Alford, J. (2005) Discursive patterns in ESL Policy: competing discourses in the new ‘Education Queensland’ ESL Policy and Guidelines document. In May, S., Franken, M., & Barnard, R. (Eds.) LED2003: Refereed Conference Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Language, Education and Diversity., November, 2003, Wilf Malcom Institute of Educational Research, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Selected Workshops/seminars/consultancies:
    • English Teachers’ Assoc’n of Queensland (ETAQ) – ‘Differentiating for EAL/D learners – theory and practice’ (with Dr Margaret Kettle and Ms Gae Nasatsi) May 14, 2016.
    • English Teachers’ Assoc’n of Queensland (ETAQ) – ‘Differentiating for EAL/D learners – theory and practice’ (with Dr Margaret Kettle and Ms Gae Nasatsi) May 14, 2016.
    • Education Qld Metropolitan EAL/D PD day – Building EAL/D capacity in schools – opportunities and challenges from the pre-service perspective. Oct, 20, 2014.
    • QATESOL – Preparing Pre-service teachers for ESL teaching – a dialogue between schools and universities. Sept 6, 2014. Brisbane.
    • Milpera High School. May 15, 2014. Copperative Learning Strategies for Language Learning Professional Development Seminar (40 teachers).
    • QATESOL ‘TESOL Classroom Strategies’ presented at Metropolitan South Institute of Technical and Further Education. September, 2013.
    • John Paul College, Brisbane. May 2012. Embedding EAL/D strategies across the curriculum P-12.
    • Yeronga High School, Brisbane. TESOL Classroom Strategies Refresher. March 2010.
    • Pacific Gateway International College, 232 Adelaide St, Brisbane : ‘Communicative Language Teaching and the Grammar Gap’. Oct 26, 2001.
    • QATESOL- Critical Literacy. Metropolitan area workshop – April 27, 2002. MacGregor High School ESL & Critical Literacy professional development project: with Jennifer Lawrence and Jaelle Thompson: June 2001 – Dec 2002.
This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Jennifer Alford.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Assessor, Examiner or Supervisor Role
Reference year
2019 Outstanding Supervisor of International HDR Student (Dr Harsha Wijesekera)
Editor of a Prestigious Work of Reference
Reference year
I am one of the five editors of the Routledge Handbook of Critical Literacy. We proposed the Handbook to Routledge in Aug 2019 and received an email in October 2019 saying it had received enthusiastic and unanimous approval from the Editorial Board, noting that they are confident that the book will be a strong and seminal handbook. This Handbook has 45 chapters from over 100 contributing authors. The editorial team is based in USA, Colombia, Singapore and Australia (myself). The Handbook addresses the need for scholars to offer to the critical literacy research and pedagogy field a comprehensive compendium of foundational work, country by country reports, and emerging issues of transnational interest. International luminaries in the field are co-authoring chapters with emerging scholars. Publication date is March 2021.
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
Assoc Editor of the wide-reaching journal Literacy Research: Theory, Method and Practice. 2020-2023. (Contract signed April 17, 2020) LR:TMP is a blind peer-reviewed annual journal that reports contemporary research and theory in literacy and literacy education. The articles in LR:TMP are to promote discussion and constructive critique about key areas of research. Articles are to reflect the content of the Literacy Research Association (LRA) Annual Meeting held in the USA and inform scholarship in the field. 20% acceptance rate.
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2016 QUT University Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Winner of the 2015 Penny McKay Memorial Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis on Language Education. This is a competitive award assessed by a team of highly reputable scholars in the field.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Enhancing Critical Reading with Migrant and Refugee-Background Youth
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year


  • From 2021: Seeking PhD supervision in Critical Literacy with migrant EAL learners. See PhD scholarships at QUT.

Current supervisions

  • Can translanguaging be a meaningful pedagogic practice in a widely multilingual classroom?
    Professional Doctorate, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Associate Professor Margaret Kettle
  • The Socialisation of English Additional Language / Dialect Students in a Queensland Low Socio-Economic State High School
    Professional Doctorate, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Associate Professor Margaret Kettle
  • How does caring matter? The education pathways of young people affected by poverty
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Annette Woods

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)