Dave Willis worked as a teacher and teacher trainer in Ghana, Cyprus, Iran and Singapore, as well as the UK. He was a British Council Officer for almost twenty years, before moving to the Centre for English Language Studies at the University of Birmingham, where he taught on TEFL/TESOL Masters programmes
He published widely on discourse analysis, ELT methodology and language description for language teaching. He was author, with Jane Willis of The Collins Cobuild English Course, and co-edited with her Challenge and Change in Language Teaching (Heinemann 1996). He wrote The Lexical Syllabus (Collins Cobuild, 1990) and was co-author, with Ramesh Krishnamurthy, of The Cobuild Students’ Grammar and, with John Wright, of The Cobuild Basic Grammar. He was twice winner of the English-Speaking Union’s Duke of Edinburgh Prize for ELT publications. His latest books are Rules, Patterns and Words: Grammar and lexis in English language teaching (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Doing Task-based Teaching (Oxford University Press, 2007), co-authored with Jane. He spent 12 years of happy retirement in the English Lake District,close to his wider family and five grandchildren. He maintained his interest in ELT throughout, writing articles, encyclopaedia entries, going to conferences and running this web-site, which he started from scratch when he retired. He had nearly finished a polemic book on English grammar for a general audience when he died in October 2013 during routine heart surgery. Completed by Jane, it is now published as a Kindle Ebook – Winning the Grammar Wars – what grammar really is and how we use it
The news of Dave’s death quickly spread round the ELT world and tributes poured in. Several people wrote about his contributions to the ELT profession. Leo Selivan wrote about his contribution to his work in the lexical field. Click here.