September 2005 Foreword

Welcome to the September Issue of the Asian EFL Journal. This edition reflects our eclectic editorial policy in that it covers a wide range of topics and writing styles spanning many geographical areas within and beyond Asia. Our journal attempts to attract papers by leading international specialists and by authors writing for the first time in an international academic journal. Some papers are of a practical nature and others are examples of academic scholarship reporting research that is less immediately applicable to the classroom, but which sheds light on areas that are relevant to language acquisition or materials and curriculum planning. Others are designed to stimulate debate on current topics of interest to the profession such as competence in teaching English as an International language and form-focused instruction.

We are delighted to be able present the papers presented at the 2005 Asian EFL International Conference. Mark Helgesen challenges us to consider the idea of input raised by Ellis, in a very practical way, arguing persuasively in favour of extensive reading programmes, and Alex Poole raises the important issue of the precise nature of the benefits of form-focused instruction, suggesting that students, at least in his context, attend to lexical rather than grammatical cues. We are also fortunate to have a practical piece by an acknowledged international specialist on teaching vocabulary, Paul Nation.

Helping to edit this journal requires many hours at the computer, often in one enclosed location, but fortunately provides the vicarious pleasure of online travel to our expanded and overworked editorial team of volunteers. We have discovered with Yang et al. the value of collaborative e-learning in a Hong Kong middle school. Ali Al-Issa’s piece from Oman is a refreshing example of a more narrative style of writing, while Esmat Babaii and Hasan Ansary from Iran provide us with an example of meticulous and detailed scholarship in the systemic linguistic tradition. From Vietnam, Na Pham leads us skillfully into the intricacies of topic-comment structures in Vietnamese illustrating the difficulties of translating these into subject-predicate structures in English, whereas Phan Le Ha challenges us to consider the complex issues surrounding the characterization of English as an International English. Ahmet Acar from Turkey revisits the linguistic/ communicative competence controversy and my own piece is designed to present a challenge to future Asian EFL authors by raising the issue of competence in relation to English learnt as an international language. We would welcome contributions on this topic for future issues and would also like to develop our teaching section. Papers that have direct classroom relevance, descriptions of classroom approaches and rationales of curriculum and materials design would be most welcome.

Dr. Roger Nunn, Senior Associate Editor