Professor Len Unsworth
Educational Semiotics in English and Literacy Pedagogy
Areas of expertise: literacy education from pre-school to matriculation; children’s and adolescent’s literature and literacy development; e-literature for children and adolescents; information and communication
technology and literacies; multiliteracies; language and literacy in curriculum areas; systemic functional linguistics in literary and literacy research and education; functional grammar in school curriculum; genre theory; semiosis of explanation
Phone: +612 9739 2738
Location: ACU North Sydney Campus
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4723-8169
Professor Len Unsworth is the Research Director of Educational Semiotics in English and Literacy Pedagogy at ILSTE. Len has been involved in educational research for over 30 years, including nine recent Australian Research Council funded projects.
His key research interests include: literacy and learning in school curriculum areas; literature for children and adolescents; literacy development in the English curriculum K-12; and the pedagogic role of explicit knowledge about language and the
meaning-making resources of images and image-language interaction in both paper and digital media texts, including animation and film. Prior to commencing at ACU in 2014, Len was Professor in Education at Griffith University, following earlier
roles as Head of the School of Education at the University of New England and Head of the School of Development and Learning in the Faculty of Education at the University of Sydney.
- Unsworth, L., Cope, J., & Nicholls, L. (2019). Multimodal literacy and large-scale literacy tests: Curriculum relevance and responsibility, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 42(2),128-139.
- Unsworth, L. (2017). Image-language interaction in text comprehension: Reading reality and national reading tests. In Cl. Ng & B. Bartlett (Eds). Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century: International
Research and Innovation (pp. 99-118). Singapore: Springer.
- Macken-Horarik, M., Love, K., Unsworth, L. & Sandiford, C. (2017). Functional Grammatics: Re- conceptualizing knowledge about language and image for school English. London: Routledge.
- Unsworth, L. (2015). Persuasive narratives: Evaluative images in picture books and animated movies. Visual Communication, 14(1), 73-96.
- Unsworth, L., & Thomas, A. (2014). English teaching and new literacies pedagogy: Interpreting and authoring digital multimedia narratives. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.
- Painter, C., Martin, J. R., & Unsworth, L. (2013). Reading visual narratives: Image analysis of children’s picturebooks. London, UK: Equinox.
- 2019-2021 Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant: Unsworth, L., Mills, K., Falloon, G., Burn, A. Coding animated narratives as contemporary multimodal authorship in schools. $442,609
- 2016-2019 Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant: Unsworth, L., Tytler, R., O'Halloran, K., Humphrey, S., Love, K., Lynzaat, A., Moss-Holland, S., Oakley, E., & Dullard, R. Multiliteracies for addressing disadvantage in senior
school science. $500,000
- 2015-2018 Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant: Mills, K., Unsworth, L., Williamson, M., Clay, R., Ferguson, A., Trembath, M. & Maksud, T. Developing low socioeconomic status primary students’ multimodal language of
- 2013-2015 Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant: Maton, K. Martin, J. R. Unsworth, L. & Howard, S. Pedagogies for knowledge-building: Investigating subject-appropriate, cumulative teaching for twenty-first century school
- 2011-2013 Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant: Macken-Horarik, M. Unsworth, L. & Love, K. Grammar and praxis: Investigating a grammatics for the twenty first century school English. $449,951
- 2009-2012 Australian Research Council, Linkage Project: Bittman, M, Unsworth, L. & Rutherford, L. Digital Natives: Growing up with new and old media in Australia. $139,321
- 2008-2011 Australian Research Council, Linkage Scheme: Unsworth, L., Thomas, A. & Maggs, P. Teaching effective 3D authoring in the middle school years: Multimedia grammatical design and multimedia authoring pedagogy. $195,000
Accolades and awards
- 2017 appointed Principal Fellow of the Australian Literacy Educators Association in recognition of significant contribution to the association and to the literacy community
Appointments and affiliations
- Professor in Education, Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education (formerly Learning Sciences Institute Australia), Australian Catholic University (ACU), 2014-
- Professor in Education, Griffith University, 2012-2013
- Deputy Director, Griffith Institute for Education Research, 2012-2013
- Adjunct Professor, University of New England, 2011-2012
- Professor and Head of the School of Education, University of New England, 2004-2008
- Director of CRÈME, University of New England, 2004-2008
- Associate Professor. Head, School of Development and Learning, University of Sydney, 2001-2004
- Unsworth, L., & Thomas, A. (2014). English teaching and new literacies pedagogy: Interpreting and authoring digital multimedia narratives. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing
International journal review panel
- Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
- Australian Journal of Language and Literacy
Grant agency review panels
Assessor of Research Grant Applications:
- The Australian Research Council
- The Singapore Ministry of Education: National Research Foundation
- The National University of Singapore
- The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada