Nigel Caplan


Professor; Assistant Director for Teacher-Training Programs; Graduate Program Coordinator, MA TESL | 302-831-7419

Nigel A. Caplan, PhD, is a professor and the assistant director for teacher-training programs at the University of Delaware English Language Institute. He is also the program coordinator of the Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language program, the Additional Certification in ESL (ACE) program, and Project DELITE, a National Professional Development grant from the US Department of Education.

Dr. Caplan has extensive experience teaching ESL, in particular English for Academic Purposes and teaching English through drama. Recently, he has focused on teacher preparation and is the instructor for several Education and Linguistics courses in the MA TESL degree. 

His research and publications focus on genre-based writing pedagogy, systemic functional linguistics, teacher certification, and alternative assessment. He is the author of a number of textbooks including Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers and Essential Actions for Academic Writing and has presented at numerous national and international conferences and workshops.

In 2014, Dr. Caplan co-founded the Consortium on Graduate Communication, and he has also chaired TESOL’s Second Language Writing Interest Section. In 2023, he served on the Delaware Multilingual Learner Strategic Planning Committee and is currently the Treasurer of DELLTA (Delaware English Language Learner Teachers and Advocates).

Selected Publications

Caplan, N.A. (2024). Ungrading ESL teacher education. In A. Tomlin & C. Nowik (Eds.), Effective alternative assessment practices in higher education. Information Age Press.

Tardy, C.M., Johns, A.M., & Caplan, N.A. (2023). Genre explained: Frequently asked questions and answers about genre-based instruction. University of Michigan Press.

Caplan, N.A. (2022). L2 writing and language learning in academic settings. In R. Manchón and C. Polio (Eds.), Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and second language writing. Routledge.

Caplan, N.A. & Johns, A.M. (2022). Essential actions for academic writing. University of Michigan Press.

Caplan, N. A. & Douglas, S. R. (2020). Q: Skills for success, reading/writing 5 (3rd edition). Oxford University Press.

Caplan, N.A. & John, A.M. (2019). Changing practices for the L2 writing classroom: Moving beyond the five-paragraph essay. University of Michigan Press.

Caplan, N.A. (2019). Grammar choices for graduate and professional writers (2nd edition). University of Michigan Press.

Teaching Interests

Structure of English, second language acquisition and multilingualism, language through drama, writing for graduate students


B.A. (Hons.) – Cambridge University, England

M.S.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages – University of Pennsylvania

Ph.D. in Education – University of Delaware

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