Research Staff Interests

Dr Huw  Bell


I was part of the Department of Languages, Information and Communication from 2006-2017. I have previously worked at Leeds University and University of Swansea, as well as a number of private language schools in the UK, France and elsewhere. My roles have included teacher training (CELTA), lecturing in TESOL and applied linguistics, and English language teaching (mostly general English / exam classes). I have been an examiner for IELTS and Cambridge main suite exams.

Research Interests

My currrent research focuses on teaching and learning L1 grammar in primary and secondary schools in the UK, teachers' attitudes to and beliefs about grammar and their impact on teaching, and the implementation of the National Curriculum.

I have worked closely with a number of primary and secondary schools across the North West, delivering CPD in language awareness to staff.

I am also interested in the acquisition and development of first and second language lexis.

Research Projects

My research has a strong public face and considerable impact in the region. I set up the Primary Grammar Project in 2014. Through this I have developed excellent links with primary and secondary schools in the North-West, and have provided grammar CPD and training to 350+ teachers and 200+ pupils in 40 schools in the last three years, both at MMU and in school.

UKCISA, 2012: Enhancing Communication: Understanding the needs of non-native speakers in Higher Education. (with P. Wake and J. Wright, MMU) £10,000

Refereed Journal Articles

H. Bell (2016) Teacher knowledge and beliefs about grammar: a case study of an English primary school. English in Education 50(2) pp 148-163

A. Wray, H. Bell & K. Jones (2016) How native and non-native speakers of English interpret unfamiliar formulaic sequences. European Journal of English Studies 20(1) pp 47-63

A. Benozzo, MC. Pizzorno, H. Bell & M. Koro-Ljungberg (2015) Coming Out, But Into What? Problematizing Discursive Variations of Revealing the Gay Self in the Workplace. Gender, Work & Organization 22(3) pp 292-306

H. Bell (2015) The Dead Butler revisited: grammatical accuracy and clarity in the English Primary Curriculum 2013–2014. Language and Education 29(2) pp 140-152

A. Benozzo, H. Bell, & M. Koro-Ljungberg (2013) Moving Between Nuisance, Secrets, and Splinters as Data. Cultural Studies ? Critical Methodologies 13(4) pp 309-315

H. Bell & P. Meara (2001) PLex: A Simple and Effective Way of Describing the Lexical Characteristics of Short L2 Texts. Prospect: an Australian journal of TESOL 16

Book Chapters

H.M. Bell (2012) Core Vocabulary, in The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics Oxford UK: Wiley-Blackwell

H.M. Bell (2009) 'The messy little details: a longitudinal case study of the emerging lexicon', in T. Fitzpatrick and A. Barfield (eds) Lexical Processing in Second Language Learners Bristol: Multilingual Matters

Major Awards, Prizes & Honorary Degrees

2014 MMU Student Union 'You're Brilliant' award

2015 MMU Student Union 'Best Overall Teacher' award

Conference Papers

EAL and formal grammar instruction in primary schools: what have we learned?

BAAL, Aberdeen, UK 2010: Vocabulary Colloquium: re-assessing the measurement of lexical density from 1972 to the present.

Learners and Networks Conference: 18-20th March, 2011, Swansea: A very slow-growing tree? A case study in the adult L1 lexicon.

BAAL, Bristol, UK 2011: How do we decode opaque formulaic sequences? (with Alison Wray)

A Day in Qualitative Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 2012: Dyadic interpretation of interview data. (with Angelo Benozzo, University of Valle d’Aosta, Italy)

NATESOL (Northern Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) 24th June 2014: Spaghetti Junction: unpicking grammar for teachers.

IATEFL, Birmingham (UK), 2016: Choosing the right words. Vocabulary efficiency for language proficiency (with Veronica Benigno, Pearson Ltd).

NATESOL (Northern Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) 4th July 2017: Spaghetti Junction: unpicking grammar for teachers.

BAAL, Leeds, UK 2017: Seeing the managed woodland for the trees: developing grammar knowledge amongst primary teacher trainees (with Steph Ainsworth)

Expert Reviewer for Journals and Publishers

Language and Education

Areas of Post-graduate Supervision

I am currently working with PhD students in research areas including:

  • vocabulary learning strategies
  • use of mother tongue in ELT classes
  • lexical error
  • supplementary schools in the UK
  • teaching observations

Position/Post: Senior Lecturer
Tel: 0161-247-6184
Location: 1.43 Brooks Building