Dr Howard

Dr Howard Nicholas

Associate Professor, Higher Degree Program Research Leader

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce


Department of Education

Education 1 Building, Room 514, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA (Hons) (Monash); Dip Ed (Primary) (SCV, Burwood); MA (Monash); PhD (Monash).



Membership of professional associations

Applied Linguistics Association of Australia

Area of study

Applied Linguistics

Brief profile

Howard Nicholas is Associate Professor in the School of Education. He has researched child and adult second language acquisition (German and English) and the acquisition of German as a first language. He has researched extensively in the area of mobile technologies and education. He teaches in the areas of applied linguistics and language education.

He has worked in Germany on various research projects and has undertaken Visiting Professorships at the University of Hawaii, at Manoa, Concordia University in Montreal and the University of Western Australia. From October 2013 to September 2014 he was Visiting Professor in English Language Education, Paderborn University, Germany.

From 2001 to 2007 he was Senior Researcher in the joint Macquarie University-La Trobe University Australian AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program) Research Centre. Howard was Vice-President, President and Immediate Past President of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia between 2000 and 2008.

He was Director of the Centre for Regional Education within the Faculty of Education in 2008 and 2009 and Associate Dean (International) in 2011.

Research interests

Applied linguistics

- Additional language acquisition

Language education

- Plurilingual language education and learning with mobile devices

Teaching units

EDU4ILT Introduction to language teaching

EDU5BLE Bilingualism and language education

EDU5DLL Designing language learning experiences

EDU5DLP Designing language learning programs

EDU5SLA Second language acquistion

EDU5SLL Second language literacies



Recent publications


Robertson, M., Macdonald, S., Starks, D. & Nicholas, H. (2018) Enabling change in EFL teachers' ideologies about grammar and grammar teaching through alternative pedagogies. System, 72(February 2018): 75-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2017.11.002

Starks, D. & Nicholas, H. (2017) "Have you noticed any changes upon your return?" Vietnamese alumni after their Australian university experiences. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 46(3): 247-272. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17475759.2017.1319403

Knewstubb, B. & Nicholas, H. (2017) From model to methodology: Developing an interdisciplinary methodology for exploring the Learning-Teaching Nexus. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 40(3): 270-287. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2017.1301914 

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas (2015) iResilience of science pre-service teachers through digital storytelling. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(6): 736-751.

Kassim, H., H. Nicholas & W. Ng (2014) Using a multimedia learning tool to improve creative performance. Thinking Skills and Creativity 13: 9-19.

Walta, C. & H. Nicholas (2013) The iPod Touch in association with other technologies in support of a Community of Inquiry in distance education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 29/6: 870-886.

Dang, X. T., H. Nicholas & R. Lewis (2013) ICT training and use among Vietnamese foreign language teachers. Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal 5/3: 13-24

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas (2013) A framework for sustainable mobile learning in schools. British Journal of Educational Technology 44/5: 695-715

Starks, D., H. Nicholas & S. Macdonald (2012) Structured reflective communication as a meta-genre in teacher education: Creative uses of critique in a teacher education program. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 37/3: 90-110 ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol37/iss3/8/ 

Dang, X. T., H. Nicholas & R. Lewis (2012) Factors affecting ubiquitous learning from the viewpoint of language teachers: A case study from Vietnam. Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal 4/2: 57-68. http://ijq.cgpublisher.com/ <http://ubi-learn.com/journal/

Min, H., K. Simkin & H. Nicholas (2012) Has the cat got your tongue? Second language factors in intercultural difficulity management. Journal of Intercultural Communication 28. www.immi.se/intercultural/

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng (2012) Factors influencing the uptake of a mechatronics curriculum initiative in five Australian secondary schools. International Journal of Technology and Design Education 22/1: 65-90.

Nicholas, H., D. Starks & S. Macdonald (2011) Relating 'knowing' and 'doing' in language teacher professional learning: An in-service teacher workshop for language teachers. TESOL in Context 21/1: 23-39. 

Low, H. M., H. Nicholas & R. Wales. (2010) A sociolinguistic profile of 100 mothers of middle to upper-middle socio-economic backgrounds in Penang-Chinese community: what languages do they speak at home with their children? Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 31/6: 569-584. dx.doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2010.527342

Ng. W. & H. Nicholas. (2010) A progressive pedagogy for online learning with high ability secondary school students: a case study. Gifted Child Quarterly 54/3: 239-251.

Ng, W., H. Nicholas, A. Williams. (2010) School experience influences on pre-service teachers' evolving beliefs about effective teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education 26/2: 278-289.

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng (2009) Fostering online social construction of science knowledge with primary pre-service teachers working in virtual teams. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 37/4: 379-398.

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng. (2009) Engaging secondary school students with extended and open learning supported by online technologies. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41/3: 305-328.

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas. (2009) Introduction of pocket PCs in schools: attitudes and beliefs in the first year. Computers and Education, 52/2: 470-480.

Yang, Y. & H. Nicholas (2008) A review of 'interest in the learning of English' in the Chinese context. The Asian EFL Journal Quarterly 10/3: 149-158.

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng. (2008) Blending creativity, science and drama. Gifted and Talented International. 23/1: 50-58

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas. (2007) Conceptualising the use of online technologies for gifted secondary students. Roeper Review 29/3: 190-196.

Keamy, (R.) K. & H. Nicholas. (2007) Personalised learning: can governments guarantee diversity for individuals? The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations 7: 137-146.

Nicholas, H. (2004). Looking backwards and sideways in order to go forward: a role for languages in shaping Australia's future. Babel 39/2: 8-14, 38.

Nicholas, H., P. Lightbown & N. Spada. (2001). Recasts as feedback to language learners. Language Learning 51/4: 719 - 758.

Nicholas, H. (2001). Languages as curriculum. Languages Victoria 5/4: 7-14.

Nicholas, H. (2000). Is there progress in standards? Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 23/2: 79-88.


Nicholas, H. & D. Starks (2014) Language education and applied linguistics: Bridging the two fields. London, Routledge.

Moore, H., H. Nicholas & J. Deblaquiere (2008) Opening the door: provision for Refugee youth with minimal/no schooling in the Adult Migrant English Program (Project 2.1 'Modes of delivery for SPP youth'). Sydney, NCELTR. http://www.ameprc.mq.edu.au/docs/research_reports/research_report_series/Opening_the_door.pdf

Book chapters

Starks, D. & Nicholas, H. (2018) The Multiplicity framework: Potential applications for heritage language education and pedagogy. In P. Trifonas & T. Aravossitas (Eds). Handbook of research and practice in heritage language education (pp. 227-244). Cham, Springer International Publishing.  

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas (2016) Sustaining innovation in learning with mobile devices: Key challenges. In W. Ng & T. Cumming (Eds). Sustaining mobile learning: Theory, research and practice (pp. 1-25). London and New York, Routledge.

Walta, C. & H. Nicholas (2016) Sustaining learning with mobile devices through educational design for teaching presence. In W. Ng & T. Cumming (Eds). Sustaining mobile learning: Theory, research and practice (pp. 149-172). London and New York, Routledge

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng (2015) Mobile seamless learning and its pedagogy. In L. H. Wong, M. Milrad & M. Specht. (Eds). Seamless learning in the age of connectivity (pp. 261-280). Singapore, Springer Verlag.

Nicholas, H. (2015) Shaping Australian policy for Australian adult migrant English language learning. In J. Simpson & A. Whiteside (Eds). Challenging agendas: Policy and practice in language learning and migration (pp. 19-34). London, Routledge.

Nicholas, H. (2015) Losing bilingualism while promoting second language acquisition in Australian language policy. In Y. Slaughter & J. Hajek (Eds). Challenging the monolingual mindset. (pp. 165-181) Bristol, Multilingual Matters Ltd. 

Nicholas, H. (2011) Ubiquitous computing does not guarantee ubiquitous learning in schools: The case of handheld computers. In W. Ng (Ed). Mobile technologies and handheld devices for ubiquitous learning: Research and pedagogy. (pp. 30-44) Hershey USA, IGI Global Publishing. 

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng (2011) Insights into students' thinking with handheld computers. In W. Ng (Ed). Mobile technologies and handheld devices for ubiquitous learning: Research and pedagogy. (pp. 79-98) Hershey USA, IGI Global Publishing.

Yates, L., H. Nicholas & M. de Courcy (2010) Social and cognitive influences on the English language development of three age groups of Iraqi refugees. In R. Batstone (Ed). Sociocognitive perspectives on language use and language learning. (pp. 94-111) Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Ng, W., H. Nicholas, S. Loke & T. Torabi (2010) Designing effective pedagogical systems for teaching and learning with mobile and ubiquitous devices. In T. T. Goh (Ed). Multiplatform e-learning systems and technologies: mobile devices for ubiquitous ICT-based education. (pp. 42-56) Hershey USA, IGI Global Publishing.

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas (2009) Self-directed learning with web-based resources. In P. Rogers, G. Berg, J. Boettcher, J. Howard, C. Justice & K. Schenk (Eds). Encyclopedia of distance learning, 2nd Edition. Vol IV, (pp. 1847-1852) Hershey, USA, IGI Global Publishers.

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng. (2009) Ubiquitous learning and handhelds: An overview of theory and pedagogy. In P. Rogers, G. Berg, J. Boettcher, J. Howard, C. Justice & K. Schenk (Eds). Encyclopedia of distance learning, 2nd Edition. Vol IV, (pp. 2171-2176) Hershey, USA, IGI Global Publishers.

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas (2009) Technology and independent learning. In D. Eyre (Ed.). Major themes in education: giftedness, Part 5. (pp. 142-159). Abingdon, UK, Routledge Ltd & New York, USA, Routledge Inc.

Nicholas, H. & P. Lightbown. (2008) Defining child second language acquisition, defining roles for instruction. In J. Philp, R. Oliver & A. Mackey (Eds). Second language acquisition and the younger learner: child's play? (pp. 27-51) Amsterdam, John Benjamins.

Kim, M. & H. Nicholas. (2004) Features of negation (mos) in a Korean bilingual child: a longitudinal study. In Kuno, S. et al (Eds) Harvard Studies in Korean Linguistics X. (pp. 144-158) Hanshin Publishing Company, Kyounggi-Do.

Nicholas, H. & A. Williams. (2003) Oracy is more than the absence of literacy: changing learner groups in ESL classrooms in highly literate societies. In G. Wigglesworth. (Ed.). The kaleidoscope of adult second language learning: Learner, teacher and researcher perspectives (pp. 29-52). Sydney, NCELTR. http://www.ameprc.mq.edu.au/docs/research_reports/research_collection/02_Kaleidoscope.pdf

Nicholas, H. & G. Wigglesworth. (2003) Second language development: extending, elaborating and refining English speech. In G. Wigglesworth (Ed.). The kaleidoscope of adult second language learning: Learner, teacher and researcher perspectives (pp.135 - 181). Sydney, NCELTR. http://www.ameprc.mq.edu.au/docs/research_reports/research_collection/02_Kaleidoscope.pdf

Wigglesworth, G. & H. Nicholas. (2003) Reflections on the patterns from the kaleidoscope. In G. Wigglesworth. (Ed.). The kaleidoscope of adult second language learning: Learner, teacher and researcher perspectives (pp. 291-298). Sydney, NCELTR. http://www.ameprc.mq.edu.au/docs/research_reports/research_collection/02_Kaleidoscope.pdf

Nicholas, H. (2001) Comparing developments in oral and written English in the lower primary school. In C. Davison & A Williams (Eds) Learning from each other: literacy, labels and limitations: studies of English language and literacy development. Vol.2. (pp. 81-91). Melbourne, Language Australia Ltd.


Nicholas, H. & J. Roos (2015) Down under entdecken: Looking at Germany through Australian eyes. Grundschule Englisch 52(3): 2-3.

Nicholas, H. (2013) Review of 'Language in late capitalism'. International Journal of the Sociology of Language - Special issue on migration, language maintenance and shift 222: 191-194.

Nicholas, H. (2012) Phonological awareness across languages. In P. Vinogradov & M. Bigelow (eds) Low educated second language and literacy acquisition: Proceedings of the 7th symposium, September 2011 (pp. 251-278). Minneapoliis MN: University of Minnesota

Nicholas, H. (Chair) (2008) Pathways and transitions: post-compulsory education, work and refugee young people. Carlton, Centre for Multicultural Youth and Victorian Settlement Planning Committee. https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/11_2013/pathways-transitions-2008.pdf

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas (2008) Capturing individual thinking through collaboration with handheld computers. British Educational Research Association, Edinburgh 3-6 September, 2008.

Keamy, (R.) K., H. Nicholas, S. Mahar & C. Herrick. (2007) Personalising education: from research to policy and practice. Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Office for Education Policy and Innovation, Paper No. 11, September, 2007. http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/publ/research/publ/personalising-education-report.pdf

Ng, W. & H. Nicholas. (2007) Ubiquitous learning with handheld computers in schools. mLearn 2007, October 16-19, 2007; Melbourne Australia (pp. 180-186): http://www.mlearn.org/mlearn2007/files/mLearn_2007_Conference_Proceedings.pdf

Nicholas, H. & W. Ng. (2007) PDAs in the real world of classrooms - what is needed to help learners think? 2nd International Conference on Interactive Mobile and Computer Aided Learning. April 18-20, 2007; Amman, Jordan

Williams, A., H. Nicholas, R. Beaton, S. Walters-Quan & I. Bhatti. (2007) Responding to learning needs: incorporating language proficiency in ESL index funding. A report prepared for the School Resource Allocation Branch, Victorian Department of Education and Training.


Research projects

Testing portable digital devices to capture interactive communication - Discipline Research Program: Remaking Education (with Donna Starks), 2015 

Reflections on the communicative challenges of life and learning in Australia: Narratives of Vietnamese international higher degree students - La Trobe Asia (with Donna Starks), 2015