William R. Acton, PhD

Professor of Applied Linguistics; Director, MA TESOL Program
"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

  • PhD - Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (University of Michigan; 1979)
  • MA Master of Arts in Linguistics (Michigan State University;1974)
  • BA 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.

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.

  • LING 511 TESOL Methodology
  • LING 517 Evaluation and Measurement in TESOL
  • LING 525, LING 624 Leadership in TESOL
  • LING 611 Applied Phonology
  • LING 642 ePortfolio