Analysing learner language: Metaphor analysis

The Research Institute for Leaner Autonomy Education (RILAE) is delighted to welcome back Professor Hayo Reinders next week. He will be giving the following workshop which is open to everyone. In addition, he is available for consultations about research and study (schedule here).

Session date: Wednesday November 7th
Time: 12.20 to 13.00
Location: 8116 


In this session we will look at metaphors and their place in learners’ accounts of their language learning journeys. Metaphors are an integral part of how we express ourselves and a reflection of who we are – and how we see ourselves. By investigating learners’ voices through metaphors we can gain deep insight into the learning process and identify better ways to support our learners. In this session we will briefly talk about the history and rationale for metaphor analysis before looking at examples of not only learners’ but also teachers’ and researchers’ metaphors. In the second half we will try our hand at analysing a text for its metaphoric content. It is my belief that this type of ‘deep dive’ into our learners’ expressions of themselves is particularly helpful for understanding – and ultimately improving – reflective dialogues, such as those common in language advising sessions.


There is no pre-reading but I will give you an article to take away and read afterwards. If you have not attended any of the three preceding ‘learner language’ sessions, I recommend that you read the materials for our first session, which gives an overview of types of learner language and ways of analysing them. You can find this on one Canvas site: (If you do not have access to this, drop me an email at and I will add you right away).

About Hayo Reinders

HayoReindersColorDr Hayo Reinders ( is Professor of Education at Unitec in New Zealand and TESOL Professor and Director of the doctoral programme at Anaheim University in the USA. Hayo has published in the areas of autonomy, technology, teacher education and out-of-class learning. He edits a book series for Palgrave Macmillan and is editor of the journal Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching.