Current Issue



TESL-EJ Special Issue
Language Education Research in International Contexts

Date of publication: September, 2006
Proposals due: October 15, 2005

Guest Editors: Greta Gorsuch and Bill Snyder

Language education remains an active area of research and inquiry on a global scale. Many language educators in international contexts undertake advanced study in their own countries and abroad. Many seek to establish and expand research done in their own contexts, and are sensitive to the many issues faced by learners, communities, and national education systems concerning language learning and education. Such research is relevant to areas of inquiry generated and reported in "inner circle" countries such as the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, where the international language of research reporting, English, is most thoroughly used. Yet research conducted in international contexts, such as Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Vietnam, and Colombia (what have been termed "outer circle" and "expanding circle" countries) is often not widely disseminated. The struggle of researchers in outer and expanding circle countries to get published in English-language language education journals is widely reported; however, other, probably more fundamental and less reported causes have not been systematically treated in international forums. Impediments to research may include the kinds of literature to which researchers have or do not have access, the degree to which quantitative and qualitative research methods are valued, the ways in which research methodology and reporting are taught, whether or not researchers have adequate mentoring or networking opportunities during data collection and analysis, the degree to which research is rewarded by researchers' institutions or educational cultures, and other constraints posed by heavy teaching schedules, or limited access to assistance or other physical resources such as computers or dependable electrical service. Choices of research topics and methodology may also reflect different value systems or priorities that may not be well known outside the researchers' contexts.

We therefore solicit original data-driven research in language education from researchers in outer and expanding circle countries with a focus on how conducting research in these contexts influences the kinds of research questions that are posed, how these questions are investigated, and how the results and interpretations are reported, or in some cases, not reported. We also invite research on how new scholars are introduced to research and apprenticed into the research community in language education. Research topics may include language acquisition in formal and informal settings, effects of innovative teaching methodologies on language learning, language testing, technology in language learning, task-based learning, minority language revival, influences on instructional change, processes and politics of developing locally appropriate textbooks and educational materials, language teacher problem solving, and program evaluation. Proposals are welcomed from both native and non-native users of English in outer and expanding circle countries. Submissions by researchers currently engaged in language teaching and teacher education at established institutions are strongly encouraged.

Proposals in the form of a 300-500 word abstract are due no later than October 15, 2005. Successful proposals will describe original data driven research, either quantitative or qualitative, with a rationale for the research and with specific research questions posed and a clearly described design for data collection and analysis. Authors must address how they plan to describe influences of their contexts and circumstances on their proposed research.

Proposals should be sent no later than October 15, 2005 to both:

Greta J. Gorsuch (
Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures
Texas Tech University
Box 72071
Lubbock, Texas 79409-2071

Bill Snyder (
Department of English Programs
American University of Armenia
40 Marshall Baghramian Ave.
375019 Yerevan, Armenia