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Volume 5 Number 1, Spring 2008, Pages 1-157   

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From the Editor-in-Chief

    Bernard Spolsky and Jihyeon Jeon

Please forgive me if this reads more like a blog than my usual piece, but I am on the road, far from home, and working on a laptop. "On the road" is not in fact accurate, as my travel is mainly by air (from Israel to the USA to the Netherlands) and train (a delightful trip up the Hudson River to Tarrytown yesterday, and by Metroliner from New York to Washington DC tomorrow), but "on the road" is a fair description of strange beds and living out of a suitcase. But I do want to congratulate the Managing Editor and her team of volunteers for putting together another excellent issue, and mention a couple of topics that might be of interest.
In Tarrytown (an attractive small town on the banks of the Hudson, I spent the day reading archival reports of activities just over 40 years ago having to do with the establishment of the field of sociolinguistics. One of the principal figures in this was Charles Ferguson, who was at the time also establish the Center for Applied Linguistics; he was also the pioneer who called the meetings that led to the development of TOEFL (which took somewhat different paths when it was industrialized) and for the start of International TESOL, the organization which set the example for regional groups like Asia TEFL. Ferguson's guiding vision was that research about language needed to be not just socially contextualized (he was of course reacting to the strange dehumanization of linguistics that captured the mainstream for so long) but socially relevant: he was at the forefront of developments in applied linguistics that included language policy and educational linguistics. The message for our journal in this is that we want to publish good empirical research that leads to improvements in the teaching of English in our countries and that while internationally interpretable, depends on scrupulous recognition of the vast diversity of local needs.
Put another way, we hope that our authors receive appropriate recognition (in promotions and reputation) for their work, but are more concerned about the advancement of the field and the development of new knowledge that permits social improvement. This double goal however occasionally leads to some conflict, and I want to clarify one important point. The job of journal editors is to certify that articles published are original and sound. For this, we are ready to give up hours that might otherwise be devoted to our own research and publication. Two technical points follow, sometimes not fully appreciated. First, we expect that a manuscript submitted to the journal is the work of the author and its first publication. We recognized that it is often possible to develop more than one publishable article out of a major piece of research. In such a case, we expect the author to make this clear, providing full reference to any other material he or she has published that is related. Clearly, we will expect that the articles we have been sent is substantially different, providing support for a distinct claim. If you have any doubts about this, you should feel free to ask the advice of the Editor.
The second point looks technical, but is equally important: we expect that we are the only journal to which you are submitting this specific manuscript, and that we have reasonable time to send it out to our colleagues for review. We realize how impatient young authors must be when their promotion, their jobs even, depend on an editorial decision, but it is not fair to expect reviewers to give their voluntary time to reading manuscripts only to be told that the paper has in the meantime been accepted by another journal.
All this is spelled out in the journal guidelines. But it is worth reiterating; we assume a paper submitted to the journal is original and is not at the same time being read by another set of editors.
As I write this, much of the Northern Hemisphere at least is starting to celebrate the coming of spring, and I take this opportunity to wish readers and fellow editors a new season of productivity.

Bernard Spolsky

Managing Editor's Note

I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the new editorial team with editors from eleven countries and the editorial advisory board members from twenty countries for their willingness to spend time on reading a number of articles in their busy schedule. I always personally feel a little pressured to make a request to review quite a number of articles by forcing a deadline. I also almost feel pain to let contributors to wait for a long time until I receive all the review reports. I thank for those contributors who have been so patient to wait for the result. It is truly amazing to see all this collaboration turns into another issue of the Journal.
This issue of the Journal of Asia TEFL includes papers written by scholars from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey. There are two papers jointly authored through international collaboration: one among Japan, Taiwan, and Korea; and the other between U.S.A. and Japan. The articles address three different areas of the profession in this issue, covering academic writing (two articles), material development, learner autonomy, and second language performance (two articles). Yinghui Sun from China reports on the use of citation by Chinese MA students. Tomohito Ishikawa from Japan explores second language speech performance by manipulating the task complexity dimensions of intentional reasoning. Yuko Goto Butler (U.S.A) and Asako Takeuchi (Japan) look at Elementary students' English performance in Japan. Shien Sakai (Japan), Man-ping Chu (Taiwan), Akiko Takagi (Japan), and Seongwon Lee (Korea) discuss teachers' role in developing learner autonomy. Ali Isik from Turkey proposes to reduce the detrimental influence of linguistic imperialism on language education. Finally, Megumi Oda from Thailand provides a new definition of critical thinking that is inclusive of both Eastern and Western values.

We appreciate your contribution, continual interest, and support. We always welcome quality papers that can be of interest to the readers of AsiaTEFL.

Jihyeon Jeon
Managing Editor