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Volume 10 Number 1, Spring 2013, Pages 1-131   

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From the Editor-in-Chief

    Bernard Spolsky

We are happy to bring the Spring issue of the Journal, and also to record the special Winter 2012 issue dealing with Early English Education which was edited by Hikyoung Lee and Yuko Butler and included five papers. This issue too has five papers, further contributions of Asian EFL studies to understanding of the process, and representing the continued hard work and commitment of our writers and editors. Noteworthy also is that four of them are joint work of colleagues or of teachers and students; collaboration like this is becoming increasingly common in our field.
The issue opens with a paper dealing with the perennial topic of the use of native-speakers as English teachers in Asian regions. Le Van Canh (VNU University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam) develops a new angle, studying the formation of professional identity by a small group of expatriate English teachers in Vietnam. He reports that their limited socialization and their lack of active cooperation with local teachers mean that their professional views reflect mainly their own experiences teaching Spanish in the USA and learning Vietnamese. This pilot study is important in exploring the reasons that native speakers do not achieve the kinds of results that those hiring them hope for, and making clear that simply hiring native speakers is not the simple solution it sometimes seems, but call for careful planning and wise implementation.
The second paper, by Michiko Ueki, a JSPS Research Fellow at the Graduate School of Kansai University and Osamu Takeuchi, a professor at Kansai University, Japan, suggests a modification to the model proposed by Zoltan Dornyei of the concept of the ideal second language self, making a distinction between a macro (long term) and micro (short term) self-image that provides a more robust statistical picture. They suggest the desirable next stages of research.
Next we have a paper by Nasrin Khaki, Gholamreza Hessamy, Fatemeh Hemmati, and Hassan Iravani, all of Payam-e Noor University, Tehran, Iran, that explores English learners' attitude to two common writing tasks, one with and the other without reading of assigned material. The small group of twenty intermediate level students found the writing-only task more pleasing, but they appreciated the support provided by the reading. This paper reminds us of the need to continually take student differences and preferences into account.
Another exploration of writing by a team from Iran follows, when Reza Zabihi, Mohsen Rezazadeh, and Dariush Nejad Ansari (all from the University of Isfahan) discuss the effect of creativity (as measured by an abbreviated version of a published test) on narrative and argumentative writing by a group of 70 intermediate level adult English learners. Some features of the measurements seem to correlate with different outcomes, but the relations and the teaching implications are far from clear.
Finally, a study by Tran Thi Thu Trang of Hue University in Vietnam, Karen Moni, and Richard B. Baldauf Jr. (both of Queensland University in Australia) established the existence of foreign language learning anxiety in a large sample of over 400 Vietnamese students. A follow-up study of 70 students and teachers using interview and autobiographical writing explored the source and negative effect from the students' point of view, and revealed that teachers were aware of the phenomenon but not of their students' individual situations. They propose how this might be changed. Again, the importance of observing and knowing our students and their differences is made clear.

Jerusalem, March 2013
Bernard Spolsky,
Editor-in-chief and Asia TEFL Publications Executive Director