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Home Journal Index 2024-2

Insights and Innovations: An Interview with Averil Coxhead on Teaching and Learning Academic Vocabulary

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Barry Lee Reynolds

University of Macau, Macau SAR, China


Sophia Skoufaki

University of Essex, UK



Professor Averil Coxhead is an applied linguist and educator known for her work in vocabulary acquisition and English language teaching. She is particularly recognized for her development of the Academic Word List (AWL), which consists of 570 head words that are commonly found in academic texts across various disciplines. The AWL aims to help English language learners enhance their proficiency in academic English by focusing on high-frequency academic vocabulary. Professor Coxhead’s work on the AWL has been widely referenced and implemented in English language teaching materials and curricula around the world. Professor Coxhead is affiliated with Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where she has conducted much of her research and teaching in applied linguistics. During an interview on April 10, 2024, Dr. Barry Lee Reynolds and Dr. Sophia Skoufaki asked Professor Coxhead about her journey into studying academic vocabulary and her views on the state of the art and necessary future research. Professor Coxhead discussed the complexities of academic vocabulary, offered strategies for teaching it effectively, and explored the role of technology and knowledge of first-language cognates in academic vocabulary learning in English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) settings. Professor Coxhead emphasized the need for practical research focusing on vocabulary application and bridging the gap between English for Academic Purposes (EAP) research and classroom practices.



Academic vocabulary, Academic Word List, EAP, EMI, vocabulary learning, vocabulary teaching