Professor Cynthia White

Adjunct Professor - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences


Cynthia White is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the School of Humanities, and Research Director for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University. She has published two books (Cambridge University Press, Multilingual Matters), and over 60 articles and chapters on distance and online language learning, language and migration, and language, emotion and identity. In 2004 Cynthia received the International TESOL Virginia French Allen Award for Scholarship and Service to the TESOL profession. In 2008 she was invited presenter at the Bertelsmann Foundation, Berlin, on language, settlement and social cohesion among immigrant youth. She serves on the Editorial Boards of seven international journals including Language Learning & Technology, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, Language Teaching and Language Learning Journal. She was an invited member of the International Project on Language Learner Strategies (IPoLLS) (2004-2008), and serves as external expert at the US National Middle East Language Resource Centre for Arabic distance learning initiatives. Cynthia has completed collaborative research projects with the Open University UK and Nottingham University in online language teaching and has been plenary speaker at international conferences and workshops in Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, China, UK, Hawai'i and Malaysia.


PhD in Applied Linguistics, Dip TESL, BA (Hons) First Class, Linguistics

Teaching Areas

Linguistics, Applied Linguistics

Research Interests

Research interests include strategies, emotion and identity in online and distance language learning, language and settlement issues for immigrants and refugees, and more recently discourses of national identity, resilience and belonging in transnational digital networks.

Research Supervision Experience

Successfully supervised 27 PhD candidates and 18 MA theses on innovation in language learning;  strategies, identity and emotion in online language learning; language, migration and settlement; autonomy



White, C. (2014). The distance learning of foreign languages: A research agenda. Language Teaching 47 (4): 538-553.

White, C. (2013). Emerging opportunities in new learning spaces: Teacher, learner and researcher perspectives. TESOLANZ Journal 10: 8-21.

Shelley, M., Murphy, L., White, C. J. (2013). Language teacher development in a narrative frame: The transition from classroom to distance and blended settings. System, 41(3), 560-574.

Nguyen, L. White, C. (2011) The nature of talk in synchronous computer-mediated communication in a Vietnamese tertiary EFL context International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching 1 (3): 14-36.

Bown, J. White, C. (2010). A social and cognitive approach to affect in SLA. IRAL, 48(4): 331-353.

Bown, J. C. White (2010). Affect in a self-regulatory framework for language learning. System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics,38: 432-443.

White, C. (2007). Focus on the language learner in an era of globalization: tensions, positions and practices in technology-mediated language teaching. Language Teaching, 40 (4): 321-326. White, C. (2007). Innovation and identity in distance language learning and teaching. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1 (1):97-110.

White, C. (2006). State of the art review article: The distance learning of foreign languages.  Language Teaching, 39 (4): 247-264.

Book Chapters

White, C. (2011). Inside independent learning: Old and new perspectives. In B. Morrison (ed.) Independent Language Learning (pp. 14-23). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Skyrme, G., & White, C. J. (2011). Getting the big picture: A longitudinal study of adaptation and identity in a New Zealand university. In L. Jin, & M. Cortazzi (Eds.), Researching Chinese Learners. Skills, Perceptions and Intercultural Adaptations (pp. 188-211). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Reinders, H. & White, C. (2010). “The theory and practice of technology in materials development and task design” In  N. Harwood (Ed.) English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 58-80.

Vom Brocke, J., White, C., Walker, U., & vom Brocke, C. (2010). Making User-Generated Content Communities Work in Higher Education - On the Importance of Setting Incentives. In U.-D. Ehlers & D. Schneckenberg (Eds.),Changing Cultures in Higher Education - Moving Ahead to Future Learning. Berlin:Springer-Verlag. Pp. 149-166.

White, C. (2009). Towards a learner-based theory of distance language learning: The concept of the learner-context interface. In P. Hubbard (Ed.) Computer Assisted Language Learning: Critical Concepts in Linguistics.Volume IV: Present Trends and Future Directions in CALL.  London: Routledge. Pp. 97-112.

White, C. & Ding, A. (2009). Identity and self in e-language teaching. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.) Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. Pp. 333-349.

White, C. (2008). Language Learning Strategies in Independent Language Learning: An Overview. In T. W. Lewis & M. S. Hurd (Eds.), Language Learning Strategies in Independent Settings. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. Pp. 3-24.


Member of the international editorial board of the following journals:

TESOL Quarterly
 Language Teaching (Cambridge University Press)
 Language Learning & Technology
 System (Elsevier)
 Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching (Taylor Francis)
 Language Learning Journal (Routledge)
 Regional English Language Centre Journal

Consultancy Interests

External expert on the Arabic Without Walls Project, US National Middle East Language Resource Centre