In this month’s issue of TIRF Today, we are pleased to announce that in our partnership with Routledge (Taylor & Francis), the Foundation is producing the eighth book in the “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English” series. This edited volume is entitled Research on Teaching and Learning English in Under-Resourced Contexts, and I have had the pleasure of co-editing the book with TIRF Trustee, Dr. Donna Christian.
The volume begins with an introductory chapter, which Donna wrote with some input from me, and then a chapter by TIRF Trustee, Dr. Andy Curtis, who addresses the issue of what we mean by the term under-resourced. Specifying what that concept covers proved to be one of the most challenging issues in producing this book. We are very grateful to have had Andy’s vision and scholarship in generating that part of the volume.
After these initial chapters, there are 13 others, divided into three sections as follows:
SECTION 1: POLICY CONNECTIONS
1. Virak Chan, Cambodia Language-in-Education Policy in the Context of ASEAN Economic Integration and the Internationalization of Higher Education
2. Thi Hoai Thu Tran, Rachel Burke, and John Mitchell O’Toole, The Evolution of English as a Medium of Instruction in Vietnamese Tertiary EFL: Challenges, Strategies, and Possibilities
3. Rooh Ul Amin, Access to English, Schooling Background, and Habitus: Evidence from Pakistani Graduate Students
4. Norbella Miranda, Appropriation of Colombian ELT Policy in a Targeted School: The Creation of an “Elite” Yet Still Needy School in the Public Education System
SECTION 2: PREPARATION of TEACHERS
5. Özgür Şahan and Kari Şahan, What Challenges Do Novice EFL Teachers Face in Under-Resourced Contexts in Turkey? An Exploratory Study
6. Leanne M. Cameron English Language Teacher Associations and the Exclusivity of Professional Development: A Rwandan Case Study
7. Anh Tran,Primary English Teachers’ Cognition and Assessment Practices in Vietnam: A Sociocultural Perspective
8. Lara Bryfonski, Training Native and Nonnative English-Speaking Teachers: Task-Based Language Teaching in Honduras
SECTION 3: PRACTICE INSIGHTS
9. Espen Stranger-Johannessen, Stories as Innovation in English Language Teaching in Uganda
10. Tabitha Kidwell, “They Can Be Anywhere Someday”: Integrating Culture in Indonesian EFL Classrooms
11. Yecid Ortega,Under the Crossfire: Fighting Injustice in a Marginalized Colombian English Teaching Classroom
12. Shakina Rajendram, The Affordances of Translanguaging as a Pedagogical Resource for Multilingual English Language Classrooms in Malaysia
13. Panjanit Chaipuapae,Readiness to Listen to Various Accents in an Asian English as a Lingua Franca Context in Thailand
As you can see from the list above, these chapters report on research conducted in 11 countries: Cambodia, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, and Vietnam. I am delighted that we have contributions from authors whose research was done in such diverse contexts.
The authors of these chapters are TIRF Doctoral Dissertation Grantees (with the exception of co-authors, Kari Şahan, Rachel Burke, and John Mitchell O’Toole). I am very grateful to all the authors for the time and effort they put into developing these chapters. It is no easy task to take a portion of a huge study, such as a doctoral dissertation, which was written largely for specialist readers, and turn it into a brief chapter for a more general readership.
I also appreciate that these contributors – like all the other authors and editors in this series – have agreed to forego any honoraria or royalties. Any royalties realized from the book sales will be directed to TIRF, to support the Foundation’s programs.
Let’s be realistic though: These books are not big money-makers for TIRF. So why do we go to the effort of trying to produce a new research volume each year? There are several reasons why publishing the books in this series is worthwhile.
First, publishing research reports is good for the profession of language education and many of its subfields – language assessment, teacher education, language planning and policy, curriculum development, and so on. People in many different roles can benefit from learning about the findings of these studies.
Second, building on the rationale just above, producing these volumes is consistent with TIRF’s mission and priorities. These publishing activities relate to at least four of the six broad areas of activity the Foundation seeks to address:
- 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 support early career scholars with their research in English language education.
Third, the experience is good for the authors – many of whom are relatively junior scholars. For some, their chapters in the TIRF volumes constitute their first international publication effort. In the process of producing their chapters, the authors are mentored by experienced researchers and editors who help them craft reports for a wide audience. It is also good for the authors, in terms of the development of their CVs as they enter the job market, to have a chapter in a book produced by a prestigious publisher.
There are also benefits for the individuals from TIRF who are involved in these book projects. Speaking as both a book editor and one of the series editors (along with Ryan Damerow), it is a great experience for me to work on these volumes. And there is a benefit to me as well, since I get some credit for the scholarly effort when undergoing the faculty evaluation process at my home institution (the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey – MIIS). In the editing process, I also read a great deal about recent research in the various chapters’ literature reviews. Doing so helps me stay current with many important research topics in our field.
Finally, I want to point out that being part of the publication process has been good for our graduate assistants (GAs) at MIIS. They have gained first-hand experience with editing, giving feedback, indexing, and managing a big, multi-person project. I wish to acknowledge the work of two wonderful GAs who served as editorial assistants and project managers on this particular book: Kalina Swanson and Caleb Powers. Donna and I are very grateful for their organizational skills and their editorial acumen.
Let me close by thanking our publisher, Karen Adler, and her team at Routledge. When we submitted the manuscript to her, Karen wrote, “The book couldn’t be timelier. I’m so impressed by the strong and varied chapters, which are direct and clear, and approaches and solutions in the book are innovative and worthy. Hats off to the TIRF team for pulling together a great volume!”
I’d also like to acknowledge Karen’s predecessor, Naomi Silverman, who first suggested that we collaborate on a series. I recall that Ryan and I met with Naomi at the TESOL Convention in Dallas on March 21, 2013 to talk about our proposal for a single book, and Naomi said we should think about a series. I remember telling the TIRF Trustees that I thought we were going on a blind date, but we ended up getting engaged!
This new volume is expected to be available in January 2021. I hope you will find it useful!