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Peter Skehan

Research Fellow

Peter Skehan is Professorial Research Fellow at St Mary's University, having previously worked at the University of Auckland, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and King's College, London, amongst others.

His main research interests are in second language acquisition, and specifically language aptitude and second language task-based performance. With the former he has recently published a major review of aptitude in the Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (2012) and is currently working on updating aptitude and relating it to pedagogy (different instructional methods, different ways of approaching feedback) and to research into a critical or sensitive period for language learning, where aptitude has recently been found to play a major role.

With task-based performance, he is the author of the Tradeoff Hypothesis, which tries to account for second language spoken performance by relating models of speaking to limitations in working memory and attentional functioning. In recent years he has published many research articles in this area (a number with Professor Foster). His current interests are to explore how the dimensions of spoken performance change as proficiency increases, to explore the serial-parallel processing balance in second language performance, and to develop software which can analyse such performance more easily and more flexibly.

His recent journal publications have appeared in Applied Linguistics and the Canadian Modern Language Review, and in the near future Foreign Language Aptitude and its relationship with grammar: a narrative account (to appear in Applied Linguistics in 2015). 

Recent books

  • 'Researching Tasks: Performance, Assessment, and Pedagogy' (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2011)
  • 'Processing Perspectives on Task Performance' (Benjamins, 2014)