Photo of Devon Woods

Devon Woods


Degrees:BA (Carleton), CTESL (Carleton), MSc (Edinburgh), PhD (Utrecht)

Retired and not available for graduate supervision.


I have always been interested in – or rather amazed by – the unseen and often unnoticed processes of interpretation that are involved in both personal and pedagogical types of communication. Often, when we are engaged in what we think is ‘successful communication’ – i.e. we seem to be nodding in the same places as our co-communicators – we discover later, to our chagrin, that we had very different interpretations of what was said and what was meant, differences which can have serious personal and/or pedagogical consequences. The source of these differing interpretations is usually not linguistic (narrowly defined), but rather stems from different implicitly-held assumptions and beliefs – our constantly evolving mental structures which are fundamental not only to our understandings of the interaction, but also to our conceptions of the world. This phenomenon, well recognized in cross-cultural settings, also occurs in cases where, on the surface, we belong to the ‘same’ culture. It can have unfortunate consequences in the pursuit of our educational goals, not to mention in the pursuit of world understanding. Examining these processes has been the focus of my research on language learners and teachers – in particular understanding teachers’ attempts to understand and help learners achieve their language learning goals. My research, since the 1970s, has involved studies of learners’ and teachers’ cognition – their beliefs, interpretations and actions – and the interactions between them in language classrooms. My 1992 doctoral dissertation, the 1996 book that resulted ( Teacher Cognition in Language Teaching ), several of my recent articles, and the focus of the work of a number of my graduate students published in the Carleton Papers in Applied Language Studies , are all attempts to examine these issues in a holistic but detailed manner. Currently, I am working on book entitled Instructional Strategies in Language Education and outlining a framework for research in the area of “interactive cognition”.

Research Interests

  • Instructional strategies in language education and language teacher education
  • Language teacher cognition and teacher beliefs
  • Language learner cognition, beliefs, motivation and strategies
  • Language classroom processes and language classroom research


Current course information for this faculty member can be found by searching the Carleton Central/Public Schedule by Term and Name.

Courses previously taught

  • ALDS 2701: Language in Society
  • ALDS 4602: Second Language Acquisition
  • ALDS 5201: The Language Classroom
  • ALDS 5207: Pedagogical Grammar in SL/FL
  • ALDS 5902: Tutorial in ALDS
  • ALDS 5908: Research Essay

Recent Publications

Woods, D. (2003). The Social Construction of Beliefs in the Language Classroom. In Kalaja, P. & A. Barcelos (eds). New Approaches to Research on Beliefs about SLA. Amsterdam: Kluwer.

Woods, D. (2006) Who Does What in The ‘Management of Language Learning’? Planning and the Social Construction of the ‘Motivation to Notice’. In Gieve, S. and I. Miller (eds). Understanding Language Classroom. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fox, J., Artemeva, N., Darville, R., & Woods, D. (2006). Juggling through hoops: Implementing ethics policies in Applied Language Studies. Journal of Academic Ethics 4.

Delahante, N. & Woods, D. (2006) Doing ethnography of/through the concept of coherence in the Cuban ESL context. Approach: a Journal of English Language Teaching in Cuba.

Woods, D. & H. Cakir (2011) Two Dimensions Of Teacher Knowledge: The Case Of Communicative Language Teaching. System 39. pp. 381-390.

Recent Graduate Supervisons (Thesis)

Smith, Louise – Practice makes Permanent: A Longitudinal Study of Fossilization and Fluency in an ESL Learner  (MA/07)

Bahia, Juliana –  English Learners’ Sense of Progress in EFL and ESL Settings: A Qualitative Inquiry  (MA/06)

Bidlake, Erin – Investigation into Lone Language Learning  (MA/05)

Cakir, Hamide – Beyond Methods in Language Teaching: A Qualitative Study of Teachers’ Theoretical and Practical Knowledge of Communicativeness in Language Teaching  (MA/04)

Honda, Ritsuko – The Implementation of Communicative Focus-on-Form Activities in EFL: Young Adolescents’ Initial Perceptions and Classroom Issues in Japan   (MA/04)
* passed with distinction

Li, Xuemei – Beyond Cultural Identity: Product and Processes in ESL Writing  (MA/03)
* passed with distinction