Emeritus Professor Ernesto Macaro

Ernesto Macaro is Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics and a Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, University of Oxford. He is the founding Director of the Centre for Research and Development in English Medium Instruction (EMI) in the Department of Education. He was also the Director of the Department from 2013 to 2016.

Before becoming a teacher educator and researcher Ernesto was a language teacher in secondary schools in the UK for 16 years during which time he obtained an MA at the University of Warwick. He then obtained a PhD from the University of Reading whilst teaching on that institution’s PGCE course. He joined the Department of Education at Oxford in 1999 and soon after introduced the area of Applied Linguistics by designing the Masters in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition.

Ernesto’s current research focuses on second language learning strategies and on the interaction between teachers and learners in second language classrooms and in those where English is the medium of instruction. He has published widely in these areas.

Ernesto is currently supervising doctoral students researching the following topics:

• English Medium Instruction in Japanese Higher Education
• English Medium Instruction in Turkish Higher Education
• The interaction in science lessons where English is the Medium of Instruction
• The vocabulary learning strategies of students in English Medium Instruction classes

Ernesto continues to be highly research active and is frequently called upon to give keynotes, plenary lectures and workshops in many parts of the world as well as providing consultancies on language policy.

Current or Recent Research Projects

Project Title: The effects of teacher codeswitching on acquisition of second language vocabulary
Brief Description: Using listening comprehension texts as the tasks around which the intervention took place, year 9 students were taught vocabulary by either being provided with target language information or via first language information. We measured pre- post and delayed tests.
Funding Body: ESRC

Project Title: EMI in Turkey: A collaborative experiment
Brief description: the research investigated the extent to which it is feasible and beneficial for English language specialists in Turkish universities to collaborate with academic subject specialists teaching through the medium of English in the preparation and delivery of content lessons or lectures.
Funding body: part funded by Oxford University Press

Project title: Decoding French, Motivation and Foreign Language Learning
Brief Description: This study involved an England-wide survey of Key Stage 3 learners of French in comprehensive schools which elicited respondents’ mastery and perceptions of decoding French (from the written form to the spoken form) and correlated these results with the same learners’ self-reports on their self-efficacy in French, their attributions of success and failure in French and their motivation to continue learning it.
Funding Body: ESRC

Project title: The certification of EMI teachers in Higher Education.
Brief Description: The study sought to establish the feasibility of certifying the teaching competence of teachers teaching academic subjects through the medium of English in non-anglophone contexts. Specifically it investigated teacher attitudes towards the kinds of competencies needed and whether it was possible and/or beneficial for the certification to be awarded at an institutional, national, or international level.
Funding Body: Fell Fund (University of Oxford)

Project title: Transition from secondary CLIL to tertiary EMI in Italy.
Brief Description: the research investigates the challenges faced by students transitioning from the upper secondary school CLIL classroom to EMI in Universities. Specifically it measures the lexical knowledge needed to adequately understand lectures in the L2 (English) and the strategies that students might use to compensate for lexical deficiencies.
Funding Body: The British Council



  • Macaro, E, Graham, S, Woore, R (2015) Improving foreign language teaching: Towards a research-based curriculum and pedagogy. London: Routledge.

  • Driscoll, P, Macaro, E, Swarbrick, A (2014) Debates in modern languages education.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315856551

  • Macaro, E (2010) Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Cohen, AD, Macaro, E (2007) Language Learner strategies: Thirty  years of research and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Macaro, E (2003) Teaching and Learning a Second Language: A guide to current research and its applications. London: Continuum.

  • Macaro, E (2001) Learning strategies in second and foreign language classrooms. London: Continuum.

  • Macaro, E (1997) Target Language, Collaborative Learning and Autonomy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

  • Convery, A, Evans, M, Green, S, Macaro, E, Mellor, J (1997) Pupils' Perceptions of Europe. London: Cassell.

Book chapters

  • Murphy, V, Macaro, E (2017) “It isn't child's play: Conducting research with children as participants”, In: J McKinley, H Rose (eds.) Doing research in applied linguistics: Realities, dilemmas, and solutions. Routledge.

  • Macaro, E (2014) “Reframing task performance: The relationship between tasks, strategic behaviour, and linguistic knowledge”, In: H Byrnes, RM Manchón (eds.) Task-Based Language Learning – Insights from and for L2 Writing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 53-78

  • Macaro, E (2014) “Grammar: The never-ending debate”, In: Debates in Modern Languages Education. 108-120
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315856551

  • Macaro, E (2013) “Overview: Where should we be going with classroom codeswitching research?”, In: R Barnard, J McLellan (eds.) Codeswitching in University English-Medium Classes Asian Perspectives. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

  • Macaro, E, Vanderplank, R, Murphy, VA (2010) “A compendium of key concepts in second language acquisition”, In: Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. Bloomsbury Publishing. 29-106

  • Macaro, E (2010) “Second language acquisition: the landscape, the scholarship and the reader”, In: E Macaro (ed.) Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Cohen, D, Macaro, E (2010) “Research methods in second language acquisition”, In: E Macaro (ed.) Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. Bloomsbury Publishing. 107-136

  • Macaro, E (2010) “The relationship between strategic behaviour and language learning success”, In: E Macaro (ed.) Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. Bloomsbury Publishing. 268-299

  • Macaro, E, Guo, T, Chen, H, Tian, L (2009) “Can differential processing of L2 vocabulary inform the debate on teacher code-switching behaviour? The case of chinese learners of english”, In: Vocabulary Studies in First and Second Language Acquisition: The Interface Between Theory and Application. 125-146
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1057/9780230242258

  • Macaro, E (2009) “Teacher Codeswitching in L2 classrooms: exploring ‘optimal use'”, In: T Yoshida, H Imai, Y Nakata, A Tajino (eds.) Researching Language Teaching and Learning An Integration of Practice and Theory. Oxford: Peter Lang.

  • Macaro, E (2009) “Developments in language learner strategies”, In: V Cook, L Wei (eds.) Contemporary Applied Linguistics Volume 1 Volume One Language Teaching and Learning. Continuum.

  • Macaro, E (2009) “Teacher use of codeswitching in the second language classroom”, In: M Turnbull, J Dailey-O'Cain (eds.) First Language Use in Second and Foreign Language Learning. Multilingual Matters.

  • Macaro, E (2008) The shifting dimensions of language learner autonomy. 47-62

  • Macaro, E, Graham, S, Vanderplank, R (2007) “A review of listening strategies: focus on sources of knowledge and on success”, In: AD Cohen, E Macaro (eds.) Language Learner Strategies: 30 years of Research and Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Macaro, E, Grenfell, M (2007) “Language learner strategies: claims and critiques”, In: E Macaro, AD Cohen (eds.) Language Learner strategies: 30 years of research and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 9-28

  • Macaro, E (2006) “Codeswitching in the L2 classroom: A communication and learning strategy”, In: E Llurda (ed.) Non-Native Language Teachers Perceptions, Challenges and Contributions to the Profession. Boston, MA: Springer Science & Business Media. 63-84

Journal articles

  • Macaro, E, Akincioglu, M (2018) “Turkish university students' perceptions about English Medium Instruction: exploring year group, gender and university type as variables”, JOURNAL OF MULTILINGUAL AND MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT. 39(3) 256-270.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2017.1367398

  • Macaro, E, Curle, S, Pun, J, An, J, Dearden, J (2018) “A systematic review of English medium instruction in higher education”, LANGUAGE TEACHING. 51(1) 36-76.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444817000350

  • MACARO, E, Pun, J (2018) “The effect of first and second language use on question types in English medium instruction science classrooms in Hong Kong”, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2018.1510368

  • Briggs, JG, Dearden, J, Macaro, E (2018) “English medium instruction: Comparing teacher beliefs in secondary and tertiary education”, Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 8(3) 673-696.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2018.8.3.7

  • Macaro, E, Tian, L, Chu, L (2018) “First and second language use in English medium instruction contexts”, Language Teaching Research.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168818783231

  • Hennebry, M, Rogers, V, Macaro, E, Murphy, V (2017) “Direct teaching of vocabulary after listening: is it worth the effort and what method is best?”, Language Learning Journal. 45(3) 282-300.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2013.849751

  • Macaro, E (2017) “Students' strategies in response to teachers' second language explanations of lexical items”, Language Learning Journal. 45(3) 352-367.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2014.905971

  • Macaro, E (2017) “English medium instruction: Global views and countries in focus: Introduction to the symposium held at the Department of Education, University of Oxford on Wednesday 4 November 2015”, Language Teaching. 1-18.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444816000380

  • Macaro, E, Akincioglu, M, Dearden, J (2016) “English medium instruction in universities: A collaborative experiment in Turkey”, Studies in English Language Teaching.

  • Zhao, T, Macaro, E (2016) “What works better for the learning of concrete and abstract words: Teachers' L1 use or L2-only explanations?”, International Journal of Applied Linguistics (United Kingdom). 26(1) 75-98.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/ijal.12080

  • Macaro, E, Tian, L (2015) “Exploring teachers' oral explanations of new English lexical items in a Chinese university: Comparisons with dictionary information”, SYSTEM. 52 78-90.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2015.05.002

  • Lo, YY, Macaro, E (2015) “Getting used to content and language integrated learning: what can classroom interaction reveal?”, Language Learning Journal. 43(3) 239-255.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2015.1053281

  • Macaro, E, Nakatani, Y, Hayashi, Y, Khabbazbashi, N (2014) “Exploring the value of bilingual language assistants with Japanese English as a foreign language learners”, Language Learning Journal. 42(1) 41-54.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2012.678275

  • Oxford, RL, Griffiths, C, Longhini, A, Cohen, AD, Macaro, E, Harris, V (2014) “Experts' personal metaphors and similes about language learning strategies”, System. 43(1) 11-29.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2014.01.001

  • Murphy, VA, Macaro, E, Alba, S, Cipolla, C (2014) “The influence of learning a second language in primary school on developing first language literacy skills”, Applied Psycholinguistics. 36(5) 1133-1153.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716414000095

  • Macaro, E, Lee, JH (2013) “Teacher Language Background, Codeswitching, and English-Only Instruction: Does Age Make a Difference to Learners' Attitudes?”, TESOL QUARTERLY. 47(4) 717-742.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.74

  • Lee, JH, Macaro, E (2013) “Investigating Age in the Use of L1 or English-Only Instruction: Vocabulary Acquisition by Korean EFL Learners”, MODERN LANGUAGE JOURNAL. 97(4) 887-901.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2013.12044.x

  • Hennebry, M, Lo, YY, Macaro, E (2012) “Differing perspectives of non-native speaker students' linguistic experiences on higher degree courses”, OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION. 38(2) 209-230.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2011.651312

  • Lo, YY, Macaro, E (2012) “The medium of instruction and classroom interaction: evidence from Hong Kong secondary schools”, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION AND BILINGUALISM. 15(1) 29-52.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2011.588307

  • Tian, L, Macaro, E (2012) “Comparing the effect of teacher codeswitching with English-only explanations on the vocabulary acquisition of Chinese university students: A Lexical Focus-on-Form study”, LANGUAGE TEACHING RESEARCH. 16(3) 367-391.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168812436909

  • Macaro, E, Handley, Z, Walter, C (2012) “A systematic review of CALL in English as a second language: Focus on primary and secondary education”, LANGUAGE TEACHING. 45 1-43.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444811000395

  • Erler, L, Macaro, E (2011) “Decoding Ability in French as a Foreign Language and Language Learning Motivation”, MODERN LANGUAGE JOURNAL. 95(4) 496-518.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01238.x

  • Macaro, E (2010) “Review of recent research (2000-2008) on applied linguistics and language teaching with specific reference to L2 Italian”, LANGUAGE TEACHING. 43 127-153.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444809990358

  • Macaro, E, Graham, S (2009) “Erratum: The development of the passe compose in lower-intermediate learners of French as a second language (Language Learning Journal (2008) vol. 36(1) (5))”, Language Learning Journal. 37(1) 139-140.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730902761545

  • Macaro, E, Mutton, T (2009) “Developing reading achievement in primary learners of French: Inferencing strategies versus exposure to 'graded readers'”, Language Learning Journal. 37(2) 165-182.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730902928045

  • Macaro, E, Erler, L (2008) “Raising the achievement of young-beginner readers of french through strategy instruction”, APPLIED LINGUISTICS. 29(1) 90-119.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amm023

  • Macaro, E, Graham, S (2008) “The development of the passé composé in lower-intermediate learners of French as a second language”, Language Learning Journal. 36(1) 5-19.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730801988454

  • Macaro, E (2008) “The decline in language learning in England: Getting the facts right and getting real”, Language Learning Journal. 36(1) 101-108.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730801988595

  • Graham, S, MacAro, E (2008) “Strategy instruction in listening for lower-intermediate learners of french”, Language Learning. 58(4) 747-783.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00478.x

  • Macaro, E (2007) “Language learner strategies: Adhering to a theoretical framework”, Language Learning Journal. 35(2) 239-243.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730701599245

  • Graham, S, Macaro, E (2007) “Designing year 12 strategy training in listening and writing: From theory to practice”, Language Learning Journal. 35(2) 153-173.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730701599203

  • Macaro, E (2007) “Do near-beginner learners of French have any writing strategies?”, Language Learning Journal. 35(1) 23-35.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730701315600

  • Macaro, E (2007) “Applied Linguistics Group at the University of Oxford”, Language Teaching. 41(1) 131-134.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444807004788

  • Macaro, E, Masterman, L (2006) “Does intensive explicit grammar instruction make all the difference?”, LANGUAGE TEACHING RESEARCH. 10(3) 297-327.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1191/1362168806lr197oa

  • Macaro, E (2006) “Strategies for language learning and for language use: Revising the theoretical framework”, MODERN LANGUAGE JOURNAL. 90(3) 320-337.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2006.00425.x

  • Macaro, E, Wingate, U (2004) “From sixth form to university: motivation and transition among high achieving state-school language students”, OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION. 30(4) 467-488.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0305498042000303964

  • Macaro, E (2003) “Italian language teaching research: living up to expectations”, Tuttitalia. (27) 14-19.

  • Macaro, E (2003) “Second language teachers as second language classroom researchers”, Language Learning Journal. 27(1) 43-51.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730385200071

  • Macaro, E, Mutton, T (2002) “Developing language teachers through a co-researcher model”, Language Learning Journal. 25(1) 27-39.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/09571730285200071

  • Macaro, E (2002) “Pedagogia interattiva (part 2): problems with giving explanations of “aspect” in Italian as a foreign language with English as L1”, Tuttitalia. (25) 23-26.

  • Macaro, E (2001) “Analysing student teachers' codeswitching in foreign language classrooms: Theories and decision making”, MODERN LANGUAGE JOURNAL. 85(4) 531-548.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/0026-7902.00124

  • Macaro, E “A systematic review of the teaching and learning of Italian as a second or foreign language”, Language Teaching. 43(2) 127-153.


  • Hassan, X, Macaro, E, Mason, D, Nye, G, Smith, P, Vanderplank, R (2005) Strategy training in language learning – a systematic review of available research. Research Evidence in Education Library. EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Macaro, E, Vanderplank, R, Graham, S (2005) A systematic review of the role of prior knowledge in unidirectional listening comprehension. Research Evidence in Education Library. EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.


  • Professor Emeritus

College affiliation

  • Worcester College


  • Professor of Applied Linguistics (Second Language Acquisition)

Subject area

  • MSc Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
  • PGCE Modern Foreign Languages (French, German, Spanish and Italian)

Research groups

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Teacher Education and Professional Learning


Publications, books and other work