Mr James Fenton

I am a Senior Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes at the Centre for Education and Teaching Innovation (CETI).

I studied English and Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick and then went travelling for work, eventually gaining over 20 years' teaching experience in 11 countries.  Returning to the UK, I established two English-language businesses (tuition for international students applying to UK Universities and academic editing), managed a South London centre for people with language and learning difficulties, and completed an MA in Linguistics at UCL.  That was followed with a PGCert in Higher Education and becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority.

My research focuses on the cognitive processes that underpin language ability, particularly in relation to pedagogical approaches, assessment and independent learning. My most recent research, in collaboration with colleagues around Europe, examines the best ways to assess and support bilinguals within prevailing educational frameworks. Future research includes better ways to sustain independent learning, transitions, and student wellbeing in higher education. 


Polisenska, K., Chiat, S., Fenton, J. and Roy, P. (2020). Assessing young children from diverse backgrounds: How can we distinguish language ability from language knowledge and meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage? Languages, Society and Policy

Kapalkova, S., Polisenska, K., Markova, L. and Fenton, J. (2016). Narrative abilities in early successive bilingual Slovak-English children: A cross-language comparison. Applied Psycholinguistics, 37(1), 145-164.

Pop, A. and Fenton, J. (2014). Offering Individualized Feedback in English for Medical Purposes through Asynchronous Writing. Proceedings of ICVL 2014 (ISSN 1844-8933, ISI Proceedings) - the 9th International Conference on Virtual Learning (pp. 495-500). Bucharest: Bucharest University Press.

Polisenska, K. and Fenton, J. (2011). Acquisition of Grammatical Gender in L2. Proceedings of the International Symposium Performance and Innovation in Education (pp. 413-419). Risoprint: Cluj-Napoca.

Fenton J. (2009). Assisting University ESP Students Achieve Greater Autonomy. Proceedings of the International Exploratory Workshop Strategies for Optimizing the Quality Standard in Higher Education ESP (pp. 247-253). Risoprint: Cluj-Napoca.

Fenton, J. and Pop, A. (2008). The Critical Period Hypothesis- What Really is Critical to Language Acquisition? Proceedings of the International Symposium Challenges of European Integration (pp. 761-769). Risoprint: Cluj-Napoca.

Pop, A. and Fenton, J. (2008). Enhancing Learner Autonomy in Business English Through Computer Assisted Practice. Proceedings of the International Symposium Challenges of European Integration (pp. 770-776). Risoprint: Cluj-Napoca.