Image: Critical Mass bike ride, San Francisco 2007. Public Domain.
Earlier today I read Hana’s post, What does it all have to do with me? You should read it.
She talked about finding debates on how our work, organisations, associations and hierarchies more and more relevant to her and finding it more important to be critical in our profession.
Me, I think I have always been a romantic trapped inside a cynic. You see, I think I am drawn to seeking constant improvement and when others see things as good enough, it sets me off.
There are a million things that I have questions about. Why do so few in Japan’s English conversation schools (eikaiwa) have any knowledge of SLA? Why would you use materials that are designed for a global market if your setting is one with a shared L1? Is pronunciation overlooked because it is difficult to teach well? Is that also the same for listening? Why are Japanese teachers assigned grammar classes and foreign teachers communication classes if the Japanese teachers consult native teachers about grammar so much and native teachers are known for supposedly talking too much? Why do we have a race to the bottom with wages?
It’s talking about these things that gets others going to talk to other people, who in turn talk to others. This can turn into a critical mass. If enough people vote with their feet, change case number come. If we choose to just think things are terrible and say or do nothing, then nothing will happen.
Accessing Research When You Aren't At University
One of my (many) bugbears is that rank-and-file teachers don’t often have access to research or academic documents when they aren’t enrolled or teaching at universities. Seriously, if SLA researchers and education researchers were keen to improve the lot of teachers on the front line then their findings would be made available to read, at least cheaply, instead of in the walled garden (hi Elsevier) that charges a fortune for a 48-hour reading period.
That said, there are little holes in the wall. Anthony Schmidt, Claire Maas and Mura Nava set up ELT Research Bites. There is superb stuff on here from a range of people. Also, Anthony has a lot of Research Bites on his personal site. A lot of academics are putting up papers on sites like Academia.edu and Researchgate.net. Not only that, but some people have publications on their own website or their university sites.
Simon Borg – hat tip to Patrick Andrews.
Vivian Cook – Thanks Geoffrey Jordan
Jim Flege – Phonetics and Phonology
Glen Fulcher – thanks Geoffrey Jordan
Stephen D Krashen
Paul Meara – thanks Marisa Constantinides
Paul Nation – thanks Jane Sabey
Norbert Schmitt – thanks Jane Sabey
Ian Wilson – Phoneticist
University of Hawaii TBLT presentations – Once again, thanks Geoffrey Jordan
Open Access Journals/Publications
English Language Teaching World Online – thanks Peter Watkins
Faculty of Language – an academic blog, again, thanks to Geoffrey Jordan
Humanising Language Teaching magazine. Not exactly a journal but not exactly a magazine. Very readable and not written in an ivory-tower style.
International CLIL Research Journal.
JALT Journal. Japan Association for Language Teaching’s main journal.
Journal of Second Language Teaching & Research.
The Language Teacher. Japan Association for Language Teaching’s magazine with some short research articles by members.
Ludic Language Pedagogy – A new journal about games and play in language teaching and learning.
TESL-EJ – Thanks Geoffrey Jordan
This article by Jake Orlowitz points to even more resources.
This is Mura Nava’s list of repositories. He also says Sci Hub is useful.
This by Florentina Taylor on ELTJam.