From the editors
We would like to thank Thomas Robb for providing us the chance to serve as guest editors for this special issue, devoted to study abroad in TESOL. As participants and leaders of these experiences, we believe that they are powerful transformative learning opportunities for language learners and language educators, and we were delighted with the tremendous response from the field. We had many wonderful manuscripts submitted and it was a difficult process to select only a few for this issue.
In TESOL teacher and language learner education, a study abroad component can support non-native English speakers by immersing them in Anglophone contexts (e.g. Wong 2016) or support native-English speaking teachers’ foreign language learning as they experience what it is like to be a language learner and a non-dominant minority (e.g. Regalla 2013). Research on study abroad programs has shown their positive impact on participants’ language growth, confidence in teaching skills, adaptability, world views, intercultural awareness, and sense of independence (Kabilan 2013; Pfingsthorn and Czura 2017). In addition, teachers in the field of language education experience cross-cultural gains as all study abroad students do, while also noticing the language teaching methods of their instructors and considering them in relation to their own approaches (Trent 2011).
Our issue presents seven unique articles that shed new light on study abroad in TESOL, with three focused on teacher learners, two on student language learners, and two that touch on the benefits of both teachers and learners. These pieces explore the US, Canada and the Philippines as English learning contexts; and Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and the virtual space as English teaching contexts. Their authors critically explore the gaps between sojourners’ pre-conceptions and realities, push for specific learning gains in linguistics and pedagogy, and position study abroad as service-learning that has authentic, mutual benefits for learners and teachers, visitors and home communities alike.
We hope that you will be inspired to design and lead a study abroad experience yourself and to reach out to connect with others doing the work within our TESOL community of practice!
Laura Baecher, Hunter College/City University of New York, USA
Kristen Lindahl, University of Texas, San Antonio, USA