A recent front-page story in The New York Times dealt with the phenomenon of the “Wild Geese”, Korean families who send their children with their mother to live in an English speaking country in order to learn English better, while the father stays home to make enough money to pay for the process. I also read recently a doctoral dissertation studying the English achievements of pupils in a village school in an Asian country. Not surprisingly, it found a major socioeconomic difference between high achievers and low. The high achievers came from wealthier homes with high values for English and education, and were partially at least exposed to the language. Neither of these stories will surprise readers. It is widely recognized that school success is dependent in large measure on the socioeconomic status of the home. And it is also understand that parents who can afford it will provide a richer sociolinguistic environment for their children.
A related issue is the report of a continued survey of English teaching in Asia reported by Yeon Hee Choi (editor-in-chief of Asia TEFL Books) and Hyo Woong Lee (President of Asia TEFL) in the distinction they find between Asian countries where English is a second language and a medium of instruction, those where it is clearly a foreign language, and those countries where historically it is a foreign language but its use as a medium of instruction in school is moving it towards second language status. Just as the “Wild geese” are sending their children to an environment where they will be more completely immersed in English, so there are countries that look for ways to increase exposure beyond the few weekly hours that can be allocated to language classes. The challenge (as described in the article by Eun-Ju Kim on English medium lecturers at universities, is to guarantee access to universities which increasingly assume English language proficiency as a requirement.
There remain of course systems, as Ali S.M. Al-Issa describes, whose teacher training programs are committed to traditional textbooks and methods of teaching that will not develop the kinds of English proficiencies that students and their parents believe are needed. Still locked in formal instruction, they are not ready for the results of the studies described by Masoud Rahim Domakani in one country and Juliana Othman and Lilliati Ismail in another supporting those who argue for the need to accompany communicative teaching with focus on form.
One more paper in the issue is by Lei Lei (a name chosen perhaps by parents who recognized the problem editors have in international publications in deciding which is the family name) which shows that the C-Test is useful for testing Chinese students in English. The issue concludes with a review by Myong Hee Ko of a textbook commonly used in Korea.
Once again, thanks to the contributors (from Korea, Iran, Oman, Malaysia, China and USA) and the editorial team for keeping up the standards of the Journal.
Angel M. Y. Lin (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) Anne Burns (Macquarie University, Australia) Asruddin Tou (Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Indonesia) David Nunan (Anaheim University, Hong Kong) Farhat Khan (Aligarh Muslim University, India) Fatma Alwan (UAE Ministry of Education, UAE) Hemamala Vajira Madawala Ratwatte (Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka) Hyacinth Gaudart (University of Malaya, Malaysia) Jun Liu (University of Arizona, USA) Kensaku Yoshida (Sophia University, Japan) Qiufang Wen (Beijing Foreign Studies University, China) OryangKwon (Seoul National University, Korea) Leo VanLier (Monterey Institute of International Studies, Thailand) Lubna Alsagoff (Nanyang Techological University, Singapore) Malru Vilches (Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines) Mehdi Riazi (Shiraz University, Iran) Michael McCarthy (University of Nottingham, UK) Mick Randall (British University in Dubai, UAE) Mike Levy (Griffith University, Australia) Nasreen Mujahida Ahsan (Aga Khan University, Pakistan) Neil Anderson (Brigham Young University, USA) Richard Baldauf (Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan) Roger Barnard (University of Waikato, New Zealand) Ronald Carter (University of Nottingham, UK) Saran Kaur Gill (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia) Shahid Siddiqui (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan) Stephen Andrews (Hong Kong University, Hong Kong) Thomas Farrell (Brock University, Canada) William Littlewood (Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong) Won-Key Lee (Seoul National University of Education, Korea) Yasuo Nakatni (Japan, Tokyo University of Science, Japan) Yuko Butler (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Editorial Board (Editors)
Mardziah HayatiAbdullah (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia) RSGupta (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) JungminKo (Sungshin University, Korea) Fuad Abdul Hamied (Indonesia University of Education, Indonesia) Mei Lin CarolineHo (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) Hee-KyungLee (Yonsei University, Korea) David C.S.Li (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) HeLianzhen (Zhejiang University, China) Young-inMoon (University of Seoul, Korea) Marianne Perfecto (Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines) ArifaRahman (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh) Jin-Young Shim (Open Cyber University, Korea) PragasitSitthitikul (Walailak University, Thailand) ToshihikoSuzuki (Sophia University, Japan) PunchaleeWasanasomsithi (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)