Early in our work, TIRF Board members focused on the fact that no existing organization or agency, private or public, is uniquely concerned with investigating issues in language learning and teaching. While specialized groups with ample funding focus on research and development activities intended to improve the human condition in other domains of public life, no such focus has ever been given to the crucial area of English as a second/foreign language education. TIRF provides this specialized attention, giving high priority to the development of a coherent program of language learning research, teaching research, and information dissemination.

Over the last several decades, the language teaching profession has witnessed phenomenal growth and development in two major areas: revolutionary changes in language teaching theory and practice and a virtual population explosion of learners worldwide — literally millions and millions of people who need to learn English. At the same time, the gap has widened between practice and the research needed to inform practice, in both language learning and teaching, as well as in teacher training.

The TESOL International Association provided the original seed-money for TIRF in its funding initiatives. Nowadays, the Foundation receives support from several corporate sponsors and many individual donors. Each year, we operate on a very lean budget, using funds to support research projects selected from applications submitted in response to TIRF’s annual calls for proposals. We are committed to the development of a research agenda which is flexible and dynamic, both addressing perennial issues and evolving critical questions. TIRF receives, holds, invests, administers, and distribute funds for these purposes.

But most importantly, TIRF invites concerned individuals and organizations to become partners, to share in this venture as an investment in the future toward the development of a language research and development agenda for today’s needs. Our Trustees believe that the ultimate success in meeting the Foundation’s research goals will depend to a large degree on support from both individuals and groups around the world. Those who share this philosophy and wish to take part in this critical endeavor will have opportunities to contribute to the work of TIRF.

Becoming involved in TIRF activities is easy. We need people who are interested in any of the following: reading research proposals, serving on the Board of Trustees, recommending persons to serve on the Board of Trustees, adding to our resources, and/or giving donations to TIRF.



Diane Freeman “TIRF encourages TESOL researchers to do good work and to make a difference in the world as the findings from their research inform and enrich the learning and teaching of English around the world.” Diane Larsen-Freeman, TIRF Supporter


Dick Tucker explains that TIRF was founded in order to fund and conduct research, to disseminate research findings, and to inform decision makers and policy makers about the importance of language learning. (3:00)

Kathi Bailey explains why TIRF was founded, what the Foundation seeks to accomplish, and how Board members ensure fiduciary responsibility. (2:27)

Ana Sylvia Ramirez talks about how TIRF can help create positive change in English language teaching and learning in Guatemala. (3:44)