Chair’s Report, By Kathi Bailey: What? So What? Now What?

These three simple questions are from Terry Borton’s book, Reach, Touch, and Teach: Student Concerns and Process Education (1970, McGraw-Hill). I am using them as my theme today to think about TIRF.

What? As most of our readers know, TIRF is an independent non-profit foundation that strives to accomplish four broad goals:

  • To implement a research and development program that will generate new knowledge and inform and improve the quality of English language teaching and learning;
  • To promote the application of research to practical language problems;
  • To collect, organize, and disseminate information and research on the teaching and learning of language; and
  • To influence the formation and implementation of appropriate language education policies, recognizing the importance of indigenous languages and cultures worldwide, and of English as an international language (from TIRF’s website).

We try to accomplish these goals, in part, by raising and distributing money to fund research (e.g., with our annual Doctoral Dissertation Grants competition), by publishing original research (through TIRFs’ online publications and our partnership with Routledge), and by recognizing outstanding research (e.g., with the TIRF James E. Alatis Prize for Research on Language Planning and Policy in Educational Contexts).  In short, the “What?” question focuses on what TIRF is and what it does. 

So what? In posing this question, a person is asking, in effect, “What’s the point? Why should I care?” Why should anyone care what TIRF does? Well, because in promoting doctoral dissertation research, we believe we are helping to prepare future scholars and teacher educators internationally. Doing so helps to improve the landscape of language education worldwide, through a trickle-down effect that ultimately affects language learners in the classroom. By publishing empirical research, we are trying to expand the knowledge base of our multifaceted profession, providing a point of reference for researchers in our field who investigate issues parallel to our organizational research priorities. And by recognizing key reports on language planning and policy, we hope to stress the importance of these key issues in language education contexts.

Now what?  TIRF has been in existence for nearly twenty years. During that time, we have sponsored five online reports which are available to the public free of charge. We have also published four edited volumes with Routledge, and the fifth volume will be in print this coming February. As reported elsewhere in this issue, we have supported the doctoral research of 114 people from 24 different countries, and we have just recognized the third recipient of the Alatis Prize. We hope to expand our activities during the coming year, in order to generate more revenue and have a greater impact on language education throughout the world.

As we continue to be active in these areas and seek partnerships to engage in new programmatic opportunities, we will be working toward the aims of our mission, as stated above. But our work cannot continue with only the help from organizational partners. We rely heavily on the support of individuals like you.

Before the end of 2017, please will you consider helping us? We would deeply appreciate any gift you can offer in order to support TIRF’s programs in 2018 and beyond. We are at a pivotal point in our organization’s existence – not only because TIRF is approaching its 20th anniversary, but also because we have reached a moment in time in which our programmatic potential and administrative costs have outgrown our financial capabilities. Receiving monetary assistance from our supporters is required for us to continue this momentum. Please click here to help us reach our goals. Thank you!

Best wishes,