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Language education expert joins CDU

By Leanne Miles

Associate Professor Douglas Bell has joined CDU as the new head of SALL Associate Professor Douglas Bell has joined CDU as the new head of SALL

A linguist with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of language education has joined Charles Darwin University as the head of the School of Academic Language and Learning (SALL).

Originally from Scotland, Associate Professor Douglas Bell has worked world-wide as a language expert in the United Kingdom, Austria, Japan, the United States and Turkey, recently arriving in Darwin from a six-year term in Ningbo, China. 

He became interested in languages while learning German, Latin and French at high school and through volunteering to teach English to other students.

“I got a taste for learning languages and this inspired me to not only try to learn what I then thought of as more exotic languages, but also to understand ways in which language and cross-cultural competence are acquired,” Mr Bell said.

He said that understanding language and culture was more important than ever with the world becoming increasingly connected.

“Particularly in the higher education setting where international student numbers are growing rapidly, it is vital that we understand how different cultures approach education and how people learn English,” he said.

“This is also true for English speakers hoping to develop foreign language skills, whether for business or pleasure.”

Throughout his career Mr Bell has specialised in teaching English for academic purposes and has helped develop appropriate syllabi and curricula for students preparing for university and for whom English was a second or foreign language.

“My particular areas of interest include the teaching of English for specific purposes, especially English for academic purposes and business English, teacher training and cross-cultural communication.

“I think Australia is well ahead of the curve in supporting students to make the transition between high school and university. I am passionate about building programs that better prepare students for their time at university.

“I am also very excited to be part of growing CDU’s international market and expanding its global footprint.” 

Mr Bell comes to CDU from the University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China where he was Head of the Centre for English Language Education. Before this he worked as the Director of the Language Centre at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has also held managerial and senior academic positions in the field of English language teaching at Nottingham Trent University, the University of Plymouth and the University of Central Lancashire. Before becoming an academic, he worked extensively in the public and private sectors in Austria, Japan, Turkey and the United States.