William R. Acton, PhD

Professor of Applied Linguistics; Sabbatical Fall 2023
It has been a great blessing to be associated with the MATESOL for these last two decades. The faculty and staff and nearly 300 students have been a joy to work, both in class and professionally, doing research and dozens of conference presentations together. I look forward to many years of engagement and fellowship with the MATESOL community.


Bill is on Sabbatical for the Fall 2023 Semester.


I often begin workshops or papers with the comment that in about 50 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.

Recent Publications

  • Van Dyke, A. & Acton, W. (2022b). Role-play and dialogic meta-pragmatics in developing and assessing pragmatic competence, in Pedagogical Linguistics, available online DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/pl.22004.van
  • Van Dyke, A. & Acton, W. (2022a). Spontaneous classroom engagement facilitating development of L2 pragmatic competence: A naturalistic study. Pedagogical Linguistics 3(1) 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1075/pl.20011.van
  • Playsted, S., Burri, M., and Acton, W. (2020) Warming up and activating mind, body and emotions in pronunciation instruction, TESOLANZ Journal 28:49-55.
  • Burri, M., Baker, A., and Acton, W. (2019). Proposing a haptic approach to facilitating L2 learners' pragmatic competence. Humanising Language Teaching, 3. Available at http://hltmag.ng3.devwebsite.co.uk/june19/propo...
  • Burri, M., Acton, W., and Baker, A. (2019). Moving to L2 fluency: The tai ball chi technique. Speak Out! Journal of the IATEFL Pronunciation Special Interest Group, 60, 43-51.
  • Kielstra, N. and Acton, W. (2018). A haptic pronunciation course for Freshman ESL college students! in Murphy, J. (Ed.) Teaching the Pronunciation of English: Focus on whole courses, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Acton, W. Burri, M. and Baker. (2016). Anchoring Academic Vocabulary with a "Hard Hitting" Pronunciation Teaching Technique, in Jones, T. (Ed.) Pronunciation in the classroom: the overlooked essential. 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.
  • Acton, W. Teaman, B. (2013). Haptic (movement and touch for better) pronunciation.In N. Sonda and A. Krause (Eds.), JALT 2012 Conference Proceedings (pp.402-409). Tokyo: JALT. (2012, October 26).
  • Acton, W. (2001). Integrated English-speaking skills, in Murphy, J. and Byrd, P. (Eds.), Particular approaches: Specialists' perspectives on English language instruction. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, pp. 197-217