Xuesong (Andy) Gao

     Xuesong (Andy) Gao is an associate professor at the School of Education, University of New South Wales, Australia. He has been involved in language teacher education in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Taiwan. His research interests include language learner autonomy, language education policy, and language teacher education. His research has been funded by Research Grants Council (Hong Kong), Sumitomo Foundation (Japan), and the Standing Committee for Language Education and Research (Hong Kong). He has published widely in international journals, including ELT Journal, TESOL Quarterly, Modern Language Journal, and Teaching and Teacher Education. He is a co-editor of System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics and co-editor of the English Language Education book series, published by Springer.

Language Teacher Agency: Why and How It Works?

Featured Presentation

     This talk presents the notion of language teacher agency as a key construct for us to understand language teachers’ professional practice and development. In the talk, I will answer the ‘what’ question, offering major conceptualisations of agency and explaining how they shape the way that language teacher agency can be approached. I will then continue with the ‘why’ question and elaborate on the different reasons that language teacher agency matters at multiple levels of a given context. I also discuss how it intersects with such concepts as teacher identity, emotion, belief and knowledge. I conclude the talk with suggestions on how to promote teacher agency through making changes to contexts and/or actors.

A Workshop on Promoting Learner Agency in Language Education


In this workshop, I present language learner agency as a key focus for language teachers when preparing learners for the challenges and opportunities beyond the classroom in teaching. I also outline what learner agency is, what it is not and how it operates. I will invite participants to reflect and discuss the challenges that we may have in promoting learner agency before we identify some possible solutions together.