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Volume 7 Number 2, Summer 2010, Pages 1-359   

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From the Editor-in-Chief

    Bernard Spolsky

Another fine collection of papers, covering a wide range of topics and from a wide range of Asia TESL countries! All are carefully planned and executed, pursuing hypotheses derived from the current literature of the field and applied to specifically Asian settings.
We are back to World Cup time, but this time in South Africa - how exciting the last Cup was in Asia and what a wonderful boost to Asian co-operation! It is too early to see how Asian teams are doing, but by the time you read this, you will know.
The summer 2010 issue of the Journal, when Asia TEFL is preparing for its first annual conference in Vietnam, opens with a discussion by Yusun Kang, Hwang Hye Jin, Kyoungoak Nam, and Yunjeong Choi of Korean and Native English-speaking teachers teaching other subjects, showing that the Korean teachers are more effective in encouraging thought and interaction. It confirms that immersion may be linguistically valuable but that students are not usually sufficiently competent in a second language to handle content areas as effectively as in their first. The second paper, by Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan, shows how Indian English plays a significant role in the identity of its speakers. In the third paper on the level of anxiety felt by Chinese undergraduates learning two different foreign languages, Guo Yan suggests that the pairings may make a difference. Stella Kong and Philip Hoare go further into the question of immersion teaching, finding strategies that appear to work in making the learning more successful. In the fifth paper, Hamid Reza Haghverdi, Reza Biria and Lotfollah Karimi report that instruction in note-taking had beneficial effects for both men and women students. In the next, Min-hsun Maggie Su & Pey-chewn Duo found that knowledge of language learning strategies are a useful predictor of self-directed reading proficiency. In the paper that follows, Nugrahenny T. Zacharias summarizes a dissertation in which she/he analyzes the formation and modification of identity in a dozen foreign students in graduate programs in the USA. The eighth paper by Hamzah Md. Omar and Miko Umehara discuss the techniques used by four retired Japanese adults learning English pronunciation in Malaysia. In the next paper, Cheryl Wei-yu Chen deal with the local manifestation of a growing world-wide problem, the need to provide professional support for part-time tertiary level English teachers. In the tenth paper, Yahya Gordani applies Bloom's fifty-year old taxonomy (still popular in many schools of education, but now clearly outdated with developments in cognitive psychology) to Iranian English textbooks, and has the expected difficulty in identifying so-called higher and lower skills. In the next paper, Chamaipak Tayjasanant and Roger Barnard study two groups of teachers in a public and a private school in Thailand, and present evidence of the wide gap between official policy and the teachers' beliefs about their task. Finally, Sharif Moghaddam analyzes literacy practices in a formal IELTS preparation course in Tehran, looking at development of academic argumentative writing.
The national range continues to be wide: three papers from Iran (one co-authored with an Australian), two from Taiwan, and one each from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mona, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand (co-authored with a New Zealander). One paper has four authors, another one has three, and nine have two authors. Again, we have a wide range of useful if small studies, representing awareness of significant topics and suggesting guidelines for application and further study. The volume thus shows the continued contribution of the journal to the field of English language teaching.
Let us hope that the World Cup encourages continued competition and collaboration among Asian nations in this field too.

Jerusalem, June 2010
Bernard Spolsky,
Editor-in-chief and Asia TEFL Publications Executive Director