Skip to Content
Exit Menu
Dr Ian Cushing

Dr Ian Cushing
Lecturer in Education

Research area(s)

  • Critical educational linguistics
  • Language ideologies, policies and pedagogies
  • Language, race, class and education
  • Language stigma and surveillance

Research Interests

I am an applied educational linguist who is interested in the links between literacy, language and education. I work within the aims, goals and methods of critical language education policy to examine areas such as:

  • Language policy enactment and negotiation
  • Language discrimination, stigma, surveillance and shame
  • The trajectories of language ideology, policy and pedagogy
  • Language discourses, attitudes and ideoligies in schools
  • The use of children's literature as an entry point for challenging language stigma

Research grants and projects

Research Projects


“You’ll never be as good as the white kids in their language”: using Young Adult fiction to explore language discrimination in schools
Funder: UK Literacy Association
Duration: January 2021 - January 2022

This collaborative, teacher-researcher study will explore how Young Adult (YA) fiction can be used as a vehicle for exploring language discrimination, with a particular focus on Key Stage 3 students in England’s schools.

Grammar policy in schools
Funder: United Kingdom Literacy Association
Duration: -
Language discrimination in schools
Funder: Brunel University London
Duration: October 2019 -

Project details

  • My current research (funded by the UKLA and Brunel) is investigating the nature and implementation of racialised and classed language policies in UK and US schools.
  • As part of my funded project 'Transatlantic Language Policing: Standards and Stigma in US-UK Schools', I am carrying out archival work and in-depth interviews in London and New York City investigating historical structures and language education policy borrowing between the UK and the US.
  • With teachers in a school in North London, I am the PI on a project exploring how Young Adult fiction can be used with Key Stage 3 readers as a vehicle for exploring, identify and challenging structural language discrimination.
  • With colleagues from the University of Leeds (Dr Julia Snell) and the University of Sheffield (Professor Emma Moore and Dr Sarah Spencer, I am a Co-Investigator on a project working towards exploring the relationship between a child's dialect and their success at school, critically examining and challenging the way that linguistic variation is conceptualised within policy and pedagogy.
  • I am preparing a monograph (Palgrave, 2022) called Standards, Stigma, Surveillance: Language Policy in England's Schools.