Paul Nation is a researcher, teacher and teacher trainer best known for his research into vocabulary learning and acquisition. This interview was the first I conducted, back in 2009.
He presented twice at the ETJ Chubu Expo , and between presentations was kind enough to answer a few questions. As you would expect we discussed vocabulary, and Paul’s answers were thoughtful and optimistic for the directions that language teaching is taking. The book we refer to in the interview is Michael West’s “A General Service List of English Words“, a hand counted and analysed list of high-frequency words, published more than fifty years ago and in many ways not yet bettered.
I also attended the first of Paul’s presentations, in which he emphasised the importance of a balanced curriculum of four strands. Teachers need to ensure that students participate in meaning focused input and output, in language focused learning (deliberate study) and in fluency development activities in equal measures. Although Paul is primarily a researcher, he is a great communicator of serious ideas with humour and clarity (a point I was trying to make in the interview, but listening back it sounds like I told him he needs to buck up a bit…. sorry!). If you get a chance to see him present, then please do so!