William R. Acton, Ph.D.

Director; MA TESOL Program; Professor of Applied Linguistics

"I often begin workshops or papers with the comment that in about 40 years in the field I have had just one idea: that the systematic use of body movement is essential to effective and efficient pronunciation instruction. That has never been more relevant than today, with the general de-emphasis on pronunciation and introduction of technology into the field. From both perspectives, the "haptic" perspective approach developed here offers great promise."  -- Bill Acton

  • Ph.D. Doctor of Philosphy in Linguistics, University of Michigan, 1979
  • M.A. Master of Arts in Linguistics, Michigan State University, 1974
  • B.A. Bachelor of Arts in Humanities/Philosophy, Michigan State University, 1971


Applied Linguistics, Applied Phonology, Language Acquisition, Language Assessment, Research Methods, and Teacher Training

Dr. Acton frequently collaborates with MA TESOL students and alumni in giving conference presentations and workshops:

Acton, W., Liu, A. and J. Jeon (2014). Stressing and de-stressing unstressed vowels: haptic “thumb-flick” technique, at the 2014 BCTEAL Regional Conference, Vancouver.

Acton, W., Jancewicz, N., and Mclellan, K. (2014). Conducting Impromptu Rhythm, Stress and Intonation Interventions: Haptic Baton, at the 2014 BCTEAL Annual Conference, Vancouver.

Acton, W., McWilliams, E., Hong, S., and Lam, M. (2014). Basics of haptic-integrated pronunciation, at the 2014 TESL Canada Conference, Regina. 

Acton, W., Mathew, L., and Peace, R. (2014). Using haptic-integrated pronunciation with the Academic Word List, at the 2014 TESL Canada Conference, Regina.

Acton, W., McWilliams, E., and Makarova, M. (2014) Haptic phonetics, at the 2014 TESL Canada Conference, Regina.

Acton, W., Burri, M., Teaman. B., Goertzen, M., Brodie, A. (2012). Getting optimal pronunciation from English learner dictionaries and beyond, at the 2012 TESOL Convention, Philadelphia.

Acton, W., Kielstra, N., Kim, G. and M. Burri. (2012) Attending skills training: peer monitoring in conversation instruction, at the 2012 BCTEAL Annual Conference.

Acton, W., Baker, A. and M. Burri. (2009) Haptic approaches to Grammar and Intonation Instruction, at the 2009 TESOL Convention, Denver.

Awards & Honors

Research Interests

  • The Role of Movement in Language Instruction
  • Teacher Training

Recent Publications

Click here to link to Dr. Acton's Haptic blog

Acton, W. , Burri, M. and Baker. (in press). Anchoring Academic Vocabulary with a "Hard Hitting" Haptic Pronunciation Teaching Technique, in Jones, T. (Ed.) Integrating pronunciation instruction. New York: TESOL.

Acton, W., Baker, A., Burri, M., and Teaman, B. (2013). Preliminaries to haptic-integrated pronunciation instruction. In J. Levis and K. LeVelle (Eds.). Proceedings of the 4th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference, Aug. 2012. (pp. 234-244). Ames, IA: Iowa State University.

  • Applied Phonology
  • Evaluation and Measurement in TESOL
  • TESOL Methodology
  • Leadership in TESOL
  • ePortfolio