December 2007 Foreword

The December 2007 edition of the Asian EFL Journal presents the conference proceedings from our May EIL Congress held at Korea University in Seoul. It was a stimulating event for speakers and audience members since views on the role of English could be shared and analyzed from various contexts in Asia and beyond. In this sense, the true ethos of the Asian EFL Journal and its related journals, that of a community of researchers and teachers meeting to challenge existing dogma, was seen in practice over the course of the congress. Sincere thanks are extended to the authors who submitted their papers and the team of editors and proofreaders who have processed the submissions. The conference issue is divided into three sections: a summary of the talk by Professsor Rod Ellis, papers which directly addressed the main conference EIL theme, and papers related to a variety of other Asian EFL topics.

It was again a privilege to enjoy the insights of Professor Rod Ellis as the main speaker at the congress. His paper entitled Educational Settings and Second Language Learning focuses on the foreign language learning setting and refers to the neglect of sociolinguistic research into this area compared to ESL settings as indicated by Rampton (2006). This analysis is framed by reference to studies by Skuttnab-Kangas (2000) into the concept of settings and Coupland s (2001) differentiation between Type 1 and Type 2 sociolinguistics. Ellis then investigates the relationship between L2 learning and various educational settings involving submersion, segregation, mother tongue maintenance, immersion, and dual language. Importantly, the variance in learning outcomes is stressed not simply between these settings, but also within them. He concludes by outlining principles of successful language learning which draw upon the arguments outlined in his analysis.

EIL papers
The global development of English as an international language has many implications for English language teachers so it is hardly surprising that investigations into teaching English for international communication have long been an important focus of attention for AEJ culminating in a full conference dedicated to EIL. The 2007 conference papers have produced a variety of perspectives that we hope will stimulate future submissions to the journal on this theme.

The first paper presented in this edition comes from Rias van den Doel from Holland. His paper looks at international intelligibility in EIL and considers the standards and competence in EIL pedagogy, arguing that a truly international English model should not focus on native or non-native local or parochial concerns . Instead of this narrow perspective of EIL, a broad view of communication is necessary, embracing both L1 and L2 speaker needs, and a diversity of communicative situations. To achieve this admittedly ambitious objective , he proposes a pronunciation model which challenges Jenkin s (2000) Lingua Franca and is more widely accepted and understood worldwide.

The second paper by Ahmet Acar from Turkey complements the first paper by considering how the global spread of English has led to the emergence of varieties of English in different sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts . Acar argues that awareness of such varieties is essential. He also questions the feasibility of striving towards a single standard English for all English contexts and asks whether a variety of standards should be adopted in its place. The idea of standards in teaching EIL is investigated in relation to the native speaker model and competence in EIL pedagogy.

In the third paper, Rana Yildirim and Zuhal Okan consider the impact of globalization on English Language Teaching in Turkey. The paper looks at the general phenomenon of globalization and relates it to linguistic concerns, especially how the English language is viewed in terms of ownership, native speaker status, the cultural content of ELT, and methodological appropriateness in the Turkish context. Yildirim and Okan draw upon data from questionnaires and interviews with teacher trainers working at various Turkish universities.
In the paper by Rajabali Askarzadeh Torghabeh from Iran, the author argues that it is necessary to increase our awareness of EIL in terms of its variations, status as the norm, how it has been changing, and how it affects languages. If this is achieved, then we can be better equipped to plan its future and set its standards. Additionally, Torghabeh calls for a common or international standard set by literary scholars and language teachers alike.

Roger Nunn s contribution follows on from his 2005 paper on the meaning of competence when English is used as an International Language. In this study, Nunn develops the 2005 definition of speech community by looking more at the concept of community . He does this by including discussions of discourse , bi-lingual , and local and international characterizations. He then contrasts competence with proficiency and discusses the five types of competence outlined in the 2005 paper in relation to five characteristics of International Communicative Competence (ICC). Data samples from projects in Abu Dhabi and a Japanese university are used to illustrate the arguments concerning competence and community.

Anita Dewi s paper examines the shift in professional identity among Indonesian Non-Native English Speaking Teachers studying at an Australian university. Her study traces the changes in identity over a period of time: prior to university study, during their study, and upon leaving Australia. The influence of English and cultural immersion are seen as playing important roles in the transformation of professional identity among the participants in this small-scale research. Dewi s paper surely carries great resonance with those of us who have experienced long stays of study abroad.

The next piece by Seyyed Ayatollah Razmjoo investigates the nature of English language textbooks in Iranian High Schools and private language institutes. Specifically, Razmjoo analyzes the textbooks in terms of their methodological approach and asks to what extent they are based upon Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) principles. Issues concerning the seminal works of Canale and Swain (1980), Hymes (1972), and Bachman (1990) on communicative competence are raised in this study. Findings from Razmjoo s research indicate that private language school textbooks tend to better represent CLT principles, whilst High School textbooks are seen as being not conducive to CLT implementation .

Saleh M. Al-Salman from Jordan looks at Global English and the role of translation. His study investigates this role and considers three aspects impacting upon it: firstly, setting standards for the globalization of EIL in light of competition from other languages; secondly, the future of English within a demographically and economically changing world; and, finally, the actual need for translation into and from English considering the role of other languages. Al-Salman s insightful study draws upon a wide range of perspectives in this debate.
Mingxu Liu and Limei Zhang s paper looks at the differences of attitude, methodologies and teaching results as perceived by their students between Native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) and Non-Native English-speaking Teachers (NNESTs) at the university level in China. The authors point out the lack of systematic studies employed to investigate these areas of research among the two groups of teachers and attempts to meet this need in their research methodology. Li and Zhang s study provides an interesting example of a new perspective addressing a common issue in the Asian context.

As an alternative to other articles focusing upon the role of English as an International Language, Stuart Warrington and Peter Ilic, both based in Japan, focus upon the teacher s sense of professional development. They introduce an evaluation measure, The Annual Activities Survey for Language Teachers (AASLT), a survey for administrators to reveal a teacher s weaknesses in professional development. Warrington and Ilic explore some of the current issues in professional development research playing a role in our working lives within institutions and describe the rationale and operation of AASLT as a means to create awareness and sustain healthy development among teaching staff. The authors work-in-progress presents an innovative contribution to the field.

Julide Inozu, Seden Tuyan and Emine Cakir Surmeli from Turkey investigate the affective barriers in Continuous Language Learning. This longitudinal research employs an approach based on Emotional Intelligence Theory, Cooperative Learning and Neuro Linguistic Programming in order to improve foreign language students social and emotional learning skills. The methodology is one which raises students awareness of their own character traits to fulfil their mental, emotional and social potentials for better language learning experience . Inozu, Tuyan and Surmeli s research has far-reaching potential for language learning beyond the Turkish context.

Thor May, based in Korea, examines fractional language learning. This paper provides fascinating insights into the production of language independently, often outside formal educational environments. May considers how both the classroom teaching and evaluation can be adapted to give proper recognition to student achievements on a fractional scale , and how such graduated recognition should be more overtly integrated into curriculum design. This adaptation and integration has, May argues, strong implications for assessment practices and should evoke a healthy debate about language learning environments and assessment tools.

The final paper in this section comes from Roger Nunn and John Adamson, Senior Editor and Associate Editor of Asian EFL Journal respectively. Editing for the journal in light of an increasing number of submissions of an international nature has led Nunn and Adamson to reflect upon the creation of alternative criteria for evaluating submissions. They consider whether standardized, strict evaluation criteria in linear fashion dictate an inflexible generic review structure to the detriment of promoting different cultural voices , for example, those representing local varieties of Asian Englishes, the idiosyncratic voices of expatriates , Asian researchers with experience in non-Asian university contexts, the diversity of reviewers expectations, and non-experimental research papers. Key extracts from papers accepted and rejected in the review procedure are presented, along with findings from questionnaires sent out to the journal s reviewers. The authors conclude that there is a diversity of opinion among reviewers about both the alternative genres of writing received in submissions, as well as stances towards roles and responsibilities in reviewing. This has led the editorial management team to set up a project to identify alternative voices for publication in forthcoming journal editions.

Asian EFL-related papers
The EIL Congress also offered the opportunity to presenters to talk about research on non-EIL themes. For this part of the proceedings, we have six papers, the first of which by Li and Lin discusses the impact of revision and teacher feedback in a Chinese college. The study asks whether revision and teacher feedback have a positive effect upon student performance. Their results from this small-scale study point to the positive effect of a combination of revision and teacher feedback. Moreover, teacher feedback without revision is seen not to improve accuracy.

The second article by Fahim and Pishghadam from Iran looks into the role of emotional, psychometric and verbal intelligences in the academic achievement of university students in English and translation courses. The study matches data of emotional quotient (EQ), intelligence (IQ), and verbal intelligence (VI) with the academic results of second year university students and yields interesting results, for example, that academic achievement can be strongly associated with several dimensions of emotional intelligence such as intrapersonal, stress management and general mood competencies. Other conclusions suggest that academic achievement cannot be strongly correlated with IQ, but more so with VI.

John Baker, Yi-Wen Luo & Yun-Ying Hung present a practical article on helping daunted low level students in the Taiwanese college context to become more autonomous. The authors propose extensive reading based on Krashen s model (2004) as a means to achieve this goal under two conditions: firstly, that Anderson s (2002) rate build up (RBU) reading technique is employed to enhance automaticity, and in turn, their reading speed; secondly, that teaching should be carefully organized both at the course level and in the presentation of the material so that students can enjoy and profit from the work both during the course and once they leave . In order to show how these two conditions can be achieved, a classroom model is presented which illustrates the RBU technique integrating cyclical application of language based skills, reading literature for its content, and reading literature for personal enrichment .

The next paper by Julide Inozu & Gulden Ilin from Turkey investigates the perceptions of students towards e-language learning in consideration of the specific, local context in which such programs are offered. The research methodology of a combination of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews reveals that among the university students under investigation it may be necessary to redesign e-learning programs to accommodate the requirements of local students. The authors insightful study suggests that modifications should be made towards a more learner-centered framework which would better match specific needs in light of the previous instructional mode to which they have most likely been exposed.

In Akemi Katayama s study, the preferences of Japanese university students in Japan towards error correction is investigated. Katayama uses questionnaires to reveal that students preferred teacher correction of errors, and also, that they preferred pragmatic errors to be corrected more than other types. It is noted that the most favored type of teacher correction was that of giving a hint so that students could notice their error and then proceed to self-correction. Katayama s study presents us with useful insights into the expectations of teaching and learning practices in the Japanese context which could have implications for other contexts.

The final paper by Pham Phu Quynh Na based in Australia looks at her own experiences as an ESOL instructor of immigrants on a government-funded program. The author illustrates six practical strategies for dealing with such multi-level classes regardless of the students nationalities in order to enhance their interest in language learning: giving project work related to the learner s interests; learning which challenges each student; preparing tasks with various levels of difficulty; taking away the pressure of error-free performance and competition; focusing on topics rather than language; and finally, the teacher s time management of the learning process. The use of these strategies is illustrated with tasks involving the practical and everyday necessities of life facing the students, for example, finding a job, taking forms of transport, and dealing with instructions.

We hope you enjoy the diversity of papers offered in this edition of conference proceedings, both in the EIL and Asian EFL-related sections, and look forward to your own contributions to the journal.

John Adamson
Associate Editor

Asian EFL Journal