From The Editors
We are pleased to offer our first guest guest-edited special issue. TESL-EJ Editorial Board member Neil Anderson, Brigham Young University, is renowned for his work in learning strategies, and brings this expertise to this very full volume on the topic. We’re sure you will enjoy the wide variety of articles and contexts that are presented.
Our second special issue, focusing on pragmatics in language teaching and learning, and edited by TESL-EJ Editorial Board Member Zohreh Eslami Rasekh, is now accepting submissions. The details are as follows:
|Call for Papers
September 2004 Issue
The September 2004 issue of TESL-EJ will focus on current scholarly perspectives and classroom-based practices related to pragmatics in language learning and teaching in different contexts of language learning and teaching.
The editor welcomes submission of high quality papers on topics relevant to the pragmatic development of second language learners, the need for the inclusion of different aspects of pragmatics in instruction, empirical studies comparing native and nonnative speakers pragmatic ability, studies comparing different methods of instruction of different pragmatic aspects, presentation and evaluation of pragmatics in textbooks and teaching materials, use of technology in teaching pragmatics to language learners, effect of instructional context, language proficiency, and other variables on pragmatic development of language learners, and transfer of L1 pragmatic knowledge and strategies to L2.
All submissions must conform to regular TESL-EJ submission guidelines.
Thank you as always for your support of TESL-EJ.
Introduction to the Special Issue
This special issue of TESL-EJ focuses on L2 Strategy Research and Training. Language learning strategies have been the focus of serious research for approximately 35 years. During the time period, we have increased our knowledge and understanding of how language learners use strategies to improve their learning.
A very interesting definition of insanity is attributed to Einstein: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The repetitive use of a strategy over and over again without an evaluation on the learner’s part of how well the strategy works is certainly a sign on insanity. Less successful language learners seem to be unaware of the strategies available to them to accomplish a language task successfully. Successful L2 learners have a wider repertoire of strategies and draw on a variety of them to accomplish their task of learning a language.
This special issue adds to the knowledge base of strategy research in positive ways. Six papers from six different geographical areas of the world have been included. First, Vee Harris conducted her research in England and provides a very interesting paper entitled “Adapting Classroom-based Strategy Instruction to a Distance Learning Context.” The value of this paper is getting L2 teachers and researchers to move beyond the context of the classroom to address strategy instruction. Harris allows us to begin considering how strategy instruction can be implemented in distance learning contexts.
Second, from Canada, Marian Rossiter directs her research to one of the least research areas of strategy instruction: affective issues. Her paper, “The Effects of Affective Strategy Training in the ESL Classroom,” sheds light on the important role that self-efficacy plays in language learning.
Few strategy research studies have looked at Arabic-speaking learners of English as a group. Wafa Abu Shmais‘ contributes a paper entitled “Language Learning Strategy Use in Palestine.” Her results suggest a continued focus by language faculty on teaching strategies embedded in classroom instruction.
Fourth, Peter Gu‘s research was carried out in Singapore and focuses on vocabulary learning in a second language. Gu points out too often we are focused on searching for the best strategies. Strategies use will change depending on the task, the learner, and the context in which the strategies are used.
Fifth, from Iran we have a paper by Zohreh Eslami Rasekh and Reza Ranjbari. Their work also focuses on vocabulary learning strategies, but directs our attention on the importance to metacognitive strategy training. Explicit metacognitive strategy training is found to increase vocabulary learning between the two groups of students studied in their research.
Finally, Mark Wolfersberger examines the transfer of writing strategies from L1 to L2 writing among Japanese learners of English in the United States. Wolfersberger’s suggestions for teachers on how to help learners utilize their existing strategies could help increase transfer for learners.
This issue highlights how successful strategy research is being carried out in varied contexts around the world. I hope that you enjoy reading these articles as much as I have and that together we might improve the teaching and learning of English by implementing the findings of these excellent strategy researchers.
I would like to thank the Editorial Board for their input on the manuscripts submitted for this issue. We received an overwhelming number to evaluate. In addition to the work of the Board, I received assistance from Christine Goh, Suzanne Graham, Lawrence Jun Zhang in evaluating submissions for this special issue. I thank these colleagues for their willingness to help insure the strength of this issue.