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Video Greeting from TIRF Trustee Michael Carrier

The use of mobile and handheld technology is growing exponentially in language education, and it is clear that much more research, project evaluation, and evidence-based analysis are needed to help us understand this new phenomenon. However, important questions remain about the efficacy of handheld devices in language learning.

What benefits do learners, teachers and school administrators derive from the use of mobile and handheld technology? What are the challenges and pitfalls? Can this technology be misapplied and waste precious resources?

With questions like these in mind, TIRF has commissioned six papers to explore the current state of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). It is our hope that these papers provide an accurate account of how MALL is impacting the landscape of English language education, and what challenges lie ahead for language learning teachers and students, administrators, business professionals, and others.

The following provides brief information about the five papers and the authors who wrote them. Click on any of the papers’ titles to read an executive summary of the paper, download the paper, and to view invited discussants’ comments on the authors’ papers. We would also very much like to have your reactions to our MALL papers. Please use the “Comment” function below or on the authors’ pages to provide any feedback you may have.

Terms of Use and Disclaimer: TIRF is providing this information as a service to our constituents, and no endorsement by TIRF of the ideas presented in this paper is intended or implied. The information is made available free of charge and may be shared, with proper attribution. However, the papers may not be reprinted without express written permission from TIRF.

Beyond the Classroom: Mobile Learning the Wider World

  • Ken Beatty, Professor of TESOL, Anaheim University

Designer Learning: The Teacher as Designer of Mobile-based Classroom Learning Experiences

  • Nicky Hockly, Director of Pedagogy, The Consultants-E

Re-skilling Language Learners for a Mobile World

  • Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology and Communication, The Open University

Some Emerging Principles for Mobile-assisted Language Learning

  • Glenn Stockwell, Professor, Waseda University
  • Philip Hubbard, Senior Lecturer and Director of English for Foreign Students, Stanford University Language Center

Is there Evidence for Differential Benefits between Mobile Devices Used for Self-access Learning as Opposed to Language Learning in the Classroom with the Teacher?

  • Paul Sweeney, Founder and Director, Eduworlds Knowledge Ltd.

Mobile Learning for Languages: Can the Past Speak to the Future?

  • John Traxler, Professor of Mobile Learning and Learning Lab Director, University of Wolverhampton
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Many stakeholders (e.g., parents, policymakers, students, and teachers) see English as a medium instruction (EMI) as a tool for creating opportunities for English learners to achieve success in both educational and workplace environments, and to join a global academic and workplace community. EMI has major implications for English language learning and the formation of policy, with a range of stakeholders affected when new decisions are made.

This paper is useful to universities struggling to make sense of the language issues around mobility of students, proficiency of the faculty, etc., and includes recommendations of what would need to be in the policies of universities, faculties, and departments.

TIRF is pleased to be working with Laureate International Universities and Dr. Joyce Kling, the author, to produce this first paper in this series. Please click here to access this paper.

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Confronting Climate Change Education in ELT

Our world faces a number of challenges, and for many people, the most serious global issue is climate change, driven by the unsustainable use of the planet’s resources. But what does climate change have to do with English language teaching (ELT)?

At first glance, ELT might have little to do with environmental concerns. However, there are convincing reasons for ELT professionals to integrate sustainability into their teaching.

Context: As our world is globally interconnected, many national and international education frameworks underscore the need for young people to become global citizens who take action. Pioneering educators in the field of sustainable development are leading the way in preparing young people to become the global citizens of the future.

Climate Change Education, or CCE, is the education sector’s response to the growing global concern for global warming. Sustainability is steadily becoming a focus of education in science syllabi, through student-based action, and as part of national curricula.

Implications: ELT instructors can play a key role in helping students develop language skills to participate in the climate change debate. Preparing learners to be a part of this ongoing conversation and to act with informed awareness is the very basis of education. Bringing climate change discussions into the ELT classroom will help students develop their voices for sustainability discussions outside of class.

What’s Next: The science of global warming is clear. As climate change awareness increases globally, we can expect to see a much greater focus on climate action in all areas of life, including English language education.

Read the Report:  In this report from TIRF and National Geographic Learning (NGL), author Daniel Barber details how stakeholders in ELT are confronting issues involved in CCE. This paper is available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), English, and Spanish. Complete the form at the following link to download the paper:

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About the “TIRF Insights” Series: The “TIRF Insights” Series profiles recent research in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) in a practical and accessible format. Our publications are written for parents, teachers, school leaders, and all student advocates who want to review recent educational trends in a nonacademic way. TIRF is pleased to be working with NGL on this important endeavor.

Calls to Action: To promote further exploration and discussion for you and your colleagues on the issues raised in the TIRF Insights: Climate Change Education paper, here are some questions to guide a conversation around the topic of CCE.

  1. What role does climate change currently play in our students’ lives? How can we support students in learning more in a supportive atmosphere?
  2. What are the most relevant and impactful environmental issues that affect the learners’ local area and home country? How can we raise awareness of these issues and the part our leaners might play in tackling them?
  3. Which cultural factors arise when discussing climate change in our classrooms? Is there more we can do to support one another to handle these cultural sensitivities?
  4. What misgivings do we have regarding the adoption of CCE? Lack of training? Uncertainty around content that could be seen as political? Our own climate anxiety? What support could be helpful in overcoming these obstacles?
  5. What climate education projects would our students and our school like to take part in? What actions might benefit students, parents, the school, and the local community.

In February 2017, we released the fourth volume in the series entitled, “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English,” which is co-published with Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

This volume features a carefully balanced set of studies and practitioner research projects carried out in various learning contexts around the world. Digital Language Learning and Teaching highlights cutting-edge research in the use of digital learning technologies in language classrooms and in online learning. Providing an overview of recent developments in the application of educational technology to language learning and teaching, it looks at the experience of researchers and practitioners in both formal and informal (self-study) learning contexts, bringing readers up-to-date with this rapidly changing field and the latest developments in research, theory, and practice at both classroom and education system levels. The volume is co-edited by Michael Carrier (TIRF Trustee), Ryan M. Damerow (TIRF Chief Operating Officer), and Kathleen M. Bailey (TIRF President).

For more information about the book, including how to order, please click here. Please note that all royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to TIRF to help fund our programs.

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TIRF’s 2017 commissioned study is titled, Online Language Teacher Education: Participants’ Experiences and Perspectives. This paper is a follow-up study to TIRF’s 2013 study, A Case for Online English Language Teacher Education (see below for further information).  

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the co-authors of this study, Dr. Denise Murray (Professor Emerita at Maquarie University, Sydney, Australia & at San José State University, San José, California, USA) and Dr. MaryAnn Christison (Professor, Department of Linguistics and the Urban Institute for Teacher Education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah). This research investigates the experiences and perceptions of students and instructors in OLTE courses and programs.

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The 10th volume in the TIRF-Routledge series, this book features research on the teaching and learning of English in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). With chapters written by TIRF Doctoral Dissertation Grant awardees and internationally known scholars, the volume addresses contemporary challenges and considerations to teaching English in the MENA context. With empirical research covering a wide range of under-studied contexts, this book provides important insights and future directions to improve research and instruction. Offering up-to-date research at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, this volume is an essential resource for language education programs and pre-service teachers.

This book has been co-edited by TIRF Trustees Dr. Kathi Bailey and Dr. David Nunan. It is featured in the “Global Research on English Language Teaching and Learning.”

If you are interested in ordering the book, please click here to visit Routledge’s website.

 

 

 

In March 2016, we released the third volume in the series entitled, “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English,” which is co-published with Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

This volume is co-edited by TIRF Trustees JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall and MaryAnn Christison. It presents new empirical research situated in different contexts around the world, including Canada, Denmark, Israel, Japan, Korea, Qatar, Sudan, and the U.S. It is framed by the volume editors’ insightful overview and analyses of previous and ongoing work in a variety of related domains and an epilogue by David Nunan. The chapter studies are organized around three themes: teacher identity in ESL/EFL teacher education and professional development programs, second language teacher education programs for diverse contexts, and professional development for diverse contexts.

For more information about the book, including how to order, please click here. Please note that all royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to TIRF to help fund our programs.

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Re-skilling Language Learners for a Mobile World

For the main paper, click here.

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology and Communication, The Open University

Executive Summary: Ubiquitous access to mobile phones and other portable devices means that language learning increasingly straddles classroom-based learning and learning outside the classroom, in virtual spaces and out in the world. We know from studies of emergent learner-led practices that foreign language study can be enriched through easy access to resources selected to suit individual interests or needs. Yet learners’ choices seem largely determined by what they happen to come across, rather than knowledge about which language skills are best improved through mobile learning. Existing mobile applications often fail to exploit connections between life and learning. This paper suggests which language skills can be enhanced through mobile learning and how learner-technology interaction supports that development, particularly opportunities for learners to extend or practice their communication with others. The paper also suggests that new skills may be required in relation to the next generation of wearable devices and increasingly instrumented, technology-rich surroundings where use of mobile technology integrates with other tools, resources, and social networks that continue to challenge traditional knowledge and skills.

Discussion of this paper provided by: Richard Boyum, University Partnership and Grants Evaluation Coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan, US State Department, USA

Read the discussion by clicking here.

Discussion of this paper provided by: Sky Lantz-Wagner, ESL Instructor, University of Dayton, USA

Read the discussion by clicking here.

Terms of Use and Disclaimer: TIRF is providing this information as a service to our constituents, and no endorsement by TIRF of the ideas presented in this paper is intended or implied. The information is made available free of charge and may be shared, with proper attribution. However, the papers may not be reprinted without express written permission from TIRF.

In February 2018, we released the fifth volume in the series entitled, “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English,” which is co-published with Routledge/Taylor & Francis. This volume is co-edited by TIRF Trustees Dr. Jodi Crandall and Dr. Kathi Bailey.

This volume presents research on language policy and planning, with a special focus on educational contexts in which English plays a role. Global Perspectives on Language Education Policies brings readers up-to-date on the latest developments in research, theory, and practice in a rapidly changing field. The diversity of authors, research settings, and related topics offers a sample of empirical studies across multiple language teaching and university contexts. This volume features access to both new and previously unpublished research in chapters written by TIRF Doctoral Dissertation Grant awardees and invited chapters by respected scholars in the field.

For more information about the book, including how to order, please click here. Please note that all royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to TIRF to help fund our programs.

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As part of TIRF’s mission to sponsor and disseminate cutting edge research into language education, we have commissioned a set of papers on different aspects of handheld language learning, to be published in the first instance as free downloads on our website. Each of these papers aims to summarize the state of our knowledge concerning the use and effects of handheld devices on the outcomes of English language learning.

More information on our mobile-assisted assisted language learning commissioned papers can be found by clicking here.

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The Foundation is pleased to share access to a translated Chinese version of its 2012 report regarding English language training for the 21st-century workforce. Click here to access the translated paper. We are extremely thankful to our colleagues at English Career magazine for making this report available to Chinese readers. We would also like to recognize Ms. Yi-hua Lin for helping to check the translation of the paper.

Designer Learning: The Teacher as Designer of Mobile-based Classroom Learning Experiences

For the main paper, click here.

Nicky Hockly, Director of Pedagogy, The Consultants-E

Executive Summary: This paper takes as its starting point Laurillard’s (2012) assertion that classroom practitioners need to become designers of effective learning experiences. It describes a small-scale classroom-based action research project carried out with two different levels of international EFL students studying in the UK, over a two-week period. Through the experience of implementing mobile-based communicative classroom tasks with these learners, six parameters for the effective design and sequencing of these tasks became apparent: (1) hardware, (2) mobility, (3) technological complexity, (4) linguistic/communicative competence, (5) type of MALL, and (6) educational /learning context.

This paper describes the study and proposes these six parameters as key to designing effective mobile-based tasks for the communicative language classroom. It is hoped that these parameters may be applicable to other fields in education. Finally, areas of concern within the study are explored, suggestions are made for future classroom-based research, and the importance of teacher training is highlighted.

Discussion of this paper provided by: Xueting Wang, Assistant Professor, DLIFLC, USA

Read the discussion by Xueting Wang by clicking here.

Discussion of this paper provided by: Anne Burns, Professor in Language Education & Director of the Centre for Language Education Research at Aston (CLERA), United Kingdom

Read the discussion by Anne Burns by clicking here.

Terms of Use and Disclaimer: TIRF is providing this information as a service to our constituents, and no endorsement by TIRF of the ideas presented in this paper is intended or implied. The information is made available free of charge and may be shared, with proper attribution. However, the papers may not be reprinted without express written permission from TIRF.

 

TIRF’s 2013 commissioned study is titled, A Case for Online English Language Teacher Education. This paper investigates a range of online professional development opportunities offered by institutions around the world. We would like to recognize TIRF Trustee Dr. David Nunan and Anaheim University for their financial support of this report.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Dr. Denise Murray (Professor Emerita, Maquarie University, Sydney, Australia), principal author of this study, for her diligence and professionalism in conducting this research-based paper. This study is based on a series of eighteen case reports about online professional development opportunities for language teachers. We are especially thankful for the expertise of each of these eighteen contributors.

  • Click here to download the paper. (For a printer-friendly version, click here.)
  • To access and download the case reports utilized in this study, click here.

The FreeBook TIRF has co-published with Routledge features one chapter in each of the six previously published books in the “Global Research in Teaching and Learning English” series.

To download the FreeBook, click here.

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We are pleased to announce the publication of its most recent commissioned paper entitled, English at Work: An Analysis of Case Reports about English Language Training for the 21st-century Workforce, which was co-authored by Anthony Fitzpatrick and Robert O’Dowd.

  • Click here to download the paper. (For a printer-friendly version, click here.)
  • To download a business-oriented summary, please click here.
  • To download the executive summary, please click here.
  • To browse and download case reports that were summarized in TIRF’s English at Work paper, go here.

(Download this publication here: http://www.tirfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/LEiR_CEFR.pdf)

A recent search for the term “CEFR” (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) on Google Scholar gave the following results: approximately 28,000 hits with no time frame; 12,700 hits since 2015; approximately 3,900 hits in 2018; and approximately 700 hits in the first three months of 2019. In other words, there is an abundance of work on the CEFR – an embarrassment of riches perhaps, that makes it very difficult for any single publication to summarize all the research that has been done, and that is being done, on the CEFR.

Examples of CEFR research published in 2019 include the paper by Afir, Hamid, and Renshaw on the use of the CEFR in Malaysia. In that paper, the authors start by stating that the CEFR “has emerged as a global policy in language education which has been ‘borrowed’ by nations across the world” (p. 1). That notion of ‘borrowing’ refers to the fact that the CEFR was originally designed by Europeans for Europeans, but now appears to have taken on a life of its own, being referred to in teaching, learning, and testing contexts far away from Europe, not only geographically far-removed in space and time, but also far-removed in terms of histories, languages, and cultures.

In a paper published in 2018, also on the implementation of the CEFR in Malaysia, Azia, Rashid, and Zainudin concluded that “the implementation of CEFR in Malaysia still needs to be improved. All the stakeholders need to be properly synchronised, aware of their responsibility and updated with the latest information” (2018, p. 415, emphasis added). Those two papers (and others) on the CEFR in Malaysia highlight one of the challenges of employing the Framework, i.e., the context – geographical, linguistic, cultural, educational, etc. Another challenge relates to being “updated with the latest information” on the CEFR, as so much CEFR-related research is being done, and so many papers on the Framework are being published.

Other papers reiterate this recurring theme of contextual challenges. For example, working with Spanish learners of English in Spain, Díez-Bedmar (2018) found that “despite the current importance of the CEFR in the learning, teaching, and assessment of languages, limitations arise in the use of the CEFR descriptors, which are also present in the European Language Portfolio (ELP)” (p. 199, emphasis added).

Another context for CEFR research has been Canada. For example, Arnott, Brogden, Faez, Péguret, Piccardo, et al. (2017) proposed a research agenda for the CEFR in Canada. In their paper, the authors conclude with a series of questions, including the following:

  • “What policies currently exist or might need to be created in order to support CEFR use within and across the provinces at all three levels of education for a variety of languages?
  • What professional development opportunities are currently being offered, and what further types of scaffolding are needed to support language teachers?
  • How is the CEFR currently being used, and how might it be used to greater advantage in order to enhance language learning?
  • How do students experience CEFR-informed instruction, and what types of impact does it have?” (Arnott, Brogden, Faez, Péguret, Piccardo et al., 2017, p. 47)

On the basis of the third question above – “How is the CEFR currently being used, and how might it be used to greater advantage in order to enhance language learning?” – TIRF commissioned Professor Enrica Piccardo, Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education at OISE (University of Toronto), to author the second paper in TIRF’s LEiR series.

TIRF remains grateful for partnering with Laureate Languages to commission The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in Language Education: Past, Present, and Future, and thanks Prof. Piccardo’s diligence in authoring the paper. Please click here to access the paper.

– Andy Curtis, Chair of TIRF’s Publications Committee

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In March 2014, TIRF released its first ever book-length publication. Teaching and Learning English in the Arabic-Speaking World is co-published by TIRF and Routledge/Taylor & Francis. This book is the first in the series entitled, “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English.”

Co-edited by Kathi Bailey (TIRF President & Chairman of the Board of Trustees) and Ryan Damerow (TIRF’s Executive Assistant), this volume includes contributions from TIRF’s Sheikh Nahayan Fellows and several individuals who were instrumental in developing the relationship between the Foundation and Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan. The book is dedicated to Sheikh Nahayan, as he was the person responsible for funding the Sheikh Nahayan Fellowships. We remain ever grateful for his support.

For more information about the book, including how to order, please click here. Please note that all royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to TIRF to help fund our programs.

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In March 2015, we published our second full-length book in cooperation with Routledge/Taylor & Francis. This book is the second in the series entitled, “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English.”

The volume is co-edited by MaryAnn Christison (TIRF Trustee & Chair of TIRF’s Research Advisory Comittee), Donna Christian (TIRF Trustee & Treasurer-Secretary), Patricia Duff (Former TIRF Trustee), and Nina Spada (TIRF Grantee). This grammar-focused publication is dedicated to Dr. Betty Azar for her support during TIRF’s early years, as she was a major supporter of our grant programs. The volume features a collection of work that resulted from TIRF grants, which were awarded to individuals whose research focused on grammar in language education.

For more information about the book, including how to order, please click here. Please note that all royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to TIRF to help fund our programs.

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The sixth volume in the “Global Research on Teaching and Learning English” was released in February 2019. Global Perspectives on Language Assessment: Research, Theory, and Practice is co-produced with Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

This new book offers up-to-date research on the rapidly changing field of language assessment. The volume features original research with chapters reporting on a variety of international education settings from a range of diverse perspectives. Covering a broad range of key topics—including scoring processes, test development, and student and teacher perspectives—contributors offer a comprehensive overview of the landscape of language assessment and discuss the consequences and impact for learners, teachers, learning programs, and society. Focusing on the assessment of language proficiency, this volume provides an original compendium of cutting-edge research that will benefit TESOL and TEFL students, language assessment scholars, and language teachers

This volume is co-edited by TIRF Trustees Dr. Spiros Papageorgiou and Dr. Kathi Bailey. Click here to learn more information about this book, including how to order.

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English for Specific Purposes (ESP), as a field within language education, has been evolving constantly since its inception. And as COVID-19 has affected our industry in a multitude of ways – many of which are known to us now yet many others are likely on the horizon – ESP is inevitably undergoing further changes in the near future.

Topics centered on ESP, such as key issues in the field, what we currently know, what the future holds, and what the implications are for various types of stakeholders, are all addressed in the latest installment to the TIRF Language Education in Review (LEiR) series. Authored by TIRF Trustee and TIRF Publications Advisory Committee Chair Dr. Andy Curtis, Language Education in Review: English for Specific Purposes, is free to download on TIRF’s website.

The primary readership for the entire series, regardless of the topics of individual papers, is non-academic. Papers are intended for policymakers and language education professionals in leadership and management roles, who need to be aware of trends and recent findings, for decision-making purposes, but who do not necessarily teach, conduct research, publish, or present.

TIRF is appreciative for its partnership with Laureate Languages to commission this latest LEiR paper and is grateful for Dr. Curtis’ efforts in authoring the publication.

Please click here to access this paper.

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