The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) is the national professional organisation for applied linguistics in Australia. We welcome academics, teachers, researchers, students and members of the wider community to join us and become part of an active community interested in questions, issues and problems that can be understood and addressed through a focus on language in our world.

To become a member, click here

Advocacy and engagement

ALAA has a long record of advocating on behalf of members and providing evidence-based advice and expertise on a range of language/s related issues and real-world problems and debates.

ALAA members regularly conduct research projects, consultancies and professional learning for groups and organisations, including government agencies, business, community organisations and other professional associations.

Read More


Winner of Penny McKay Memorial Award 2021

The Penny McKay Memorial Award is jointly offered by the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA), the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) and the Association for Language Testing and  Assessment of Australia and New Zealand (ALTAANZ). This award honours Penny’s contribution to research and development in second/additional language education. We are delighted to announce that we have Bonita Cablies be declared the winner (details below).  

Many congratulations to Bonita and her supervisors (Associate Professor Russell Cross and Associate Professor Jessica Gerrard, The University of Melbourne) on this outstanding record of achievement.

Winner of Penny McKay Memorial Award 2021

Bonita Cabiles, awarded her PhD by The University of Melbourne on 30 April 2021 

Thesis Title: 

Participation and cultural and linguistic diversity: An in-depth qualitative inquiry of an Australian primary classroom


Associate Professor Russell Cross, 
Associate Professor Jessica Gerrard


Educating for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) learners emerged as a policy ‘problem’ that gained attention from the 1970s to the 1990s through Australian multicultural education discourse, but since then has been marked by policy decline and instability (Harris, 1995; Jakubowicz & Ho, 2014). Researching this anew, this study explored how the problem of participation can be understood in the context of CALD learners. Participation remains an eminent yet ambiguous ‘buzzword’ in the field of education (Black, 2011; Thomas, Whybrow, & Scharber, 2012). 

This study contributes to the discussion of participation by offering a conceptual framework to understand the practice of participation in the context of CALD learners. In deploying this conceptual framework, this research engages with Bourdieusian conceptual tools: field, capital, and habitus—as heuristic devices to critically explore participation as a social phenomenon occurring in a CALD learning context. This study asks: How is participation understood, practiced, and experienced in the context of a CALD primary classroom?

To critically explore the practice of participation in the context of CALD learners, this study undertook an in-depth qualitative inquiry of an Australian primary classroom. The class, referred to as Class 5/6k, was a highly diverse student cohort, culturally and linguistically, located in a major metropolitan city. The study found that many of the teachers’ taken-for-granted assumptions and practices about teaching CALD learners were constraining the students’ participation. This study also found that building social relationships was inherently challenging in a CALD classroom context. In foregrounding the subjective experiences of CALD learners, a key finding of this study has been the diverse and complex interests, needs, and capabilities of a highly diverse student cohort.

The primary contribution of this study is the articulation of a conceptual framework for understanding participation in the context of CALD learners. This is referred to as ‘the teaching triad of participation’ consisting of ‘positionality,’ ‘resourcing,’ and ‘sociality’. As illuminated through the empirical research, these constructs in the teaching triad function in a relational and dynamic manner. Thus, the study encourages continued exploration of teaching practices that can work towards empowering increasingly diverse learners in the classroom through a holistic approach that considers the three constructs in the teaching triad. Finally, this study also encourages reflecting on possibilities for future research including further exploration of the affective dimension of participation and an examination of how issues of race and gender intersect with cultural and linguistic diversity.

Find out More


The Australian Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL) is the journal of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA). The aim of the journal is to present research in a wide range of areas.

Image Description
Image Description