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Volume 12 Number 1, Spring 2015, Pages 1-168   

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From the Editor-in Chief

    Andy Kirkpatrick

Dear Readers and Colleagues,

Welcome to edition 12.1 of The Journal of Asia TEFL. All six articles address current issues in the field of English language teaching of direct relevance to our readers and, with the exception of the first, are based on original research. The first two articles consider, in different ways, the currently topical issue of the ownership of English and the relative roles to be played by native speakers and multilingual users of English in its teaching and development.
In the opening article, which is a version of the keynote paper he gave at a recent Asia TEFL conference, Widdowson distinguishes between English as a native language and English as a lingua franca. He argues that teachers currently focus on teaching the correct forms of English as defined by native speaker norms . English as a native language . and this is the major reason why learners do not learn these norms, as this type of English and these NS norms are foreign to them. Instead, he proposes that teachers should start to teach English for their students rather than to them; and that the English they teach should therefore reflect English as used as a lingua franca, as this is the use of English that is real to the learners. In his article, he also critically examines the notions of communication and competence and argues that the concept of capability is of crucial importance for English language teachers and learners.
Three Korean scholars, Jihyeon Jeon, Jin Sook Lee and Hee-Kyung Lee, report on their evaluation of the Korean government's TaLK (Teach and Learn in Korea) programme. The TaLK programme has three main objectives, namely to lessen the divide in the provision of English language education between the urban rich and the rural poor, to offer opportunities to native speakers of English to learn about Korean culture and language and to enhance the intercultural competence of selected Korean university students. The programme also directly involves three groups of participants: the English language teachers from overseas; the Korean assistants; and local English language teachers. In a fascinating and rigorous study, the authors compare the perceptions of the three groups directly involved in the programme as to whether it achieves its aims and offer sound recommendations for improving the programme.
The following four articles of this issue report findings from original, empirical research studies.
The impact of reading directionality upon L2 reading fluency is the topic of the third article. Naghdipour examined this by comparing the reading fluency of twenty L1 Arabic and twenty L1 Turkish students. Each student was given reading texts in English and in their respective L1s to compare differences in reading fluency. The results, while not statistically significant, were suggestive, with the Turkish students reading the English texts faster than their Arabic counterparts. Intriguingly, however, the Arabic students were able to read texts in Arabic faster than their Turkish counterparts were able to read texts in Turkish.
In the fourth article, Ida Fatimawati investigated the influence of selected external and internal factors on students' self concept of themselves as academic writers. In an empirical study which combined questionnaire and interview data, she found that the L2 learners' self concept as academic writers was influenced by a range of factors which were themselves unique to each particular context. She concludes her study by stressing the importance of those involved in the teaching of academic writing making sure that the course objectives are clear and that the classroom environment is supportive.
The effect of error correction on students' L2 writing, in itself a topic of huge interest to all language teachers, is the focus of Xiaoling Ji's study. In a long term study that investigated the comparative influence of direct and indirect error correction. including coded error correction . she found that, over the longer term, indirect error correction which involved pointing out where the errors were and indicating the type of error was most effective in reducing errors from students' writing. However, she also found that some errors actually increased over time, reflecting the difficulty in assigning particular causes for particular errors.
In this issue's final article, the focus shifts from writing to oral presentations. In a study which compared the use of the first person pronoun by a selection of international students from East Asia and local American students Zareva's ‘goal was to explore comparatively L1 and L2 TESOL graduate students' self-mention practices as a strategy to convey multiple identity roles relevant to the genre so that in our instructions and/or feedback to students' presentations we can make them explicitly aware of how they have positioned themselves in their discourse. The underpinning assumption is that discussions of the specific effects of certain language features may potentially increase students' rhetorical consciousness and guide their language choices to the effects that they themselves may want to achieve'. In a highly readable and interesting study, Zareva shows how identity roles influence their use of personal pronouns. She concludes,' teaching students explicitly to strategically use the first person pronouns is a way of making them consciously aware of the different ways they can utilize to make themselves visible as authors, while staying true to the conventions of their discipline, the genre, and their audience'.
The issue, 12.1, also signals a new decade for the Journal of Asia TEFL with the appointment of new editorial board and new editorial advisory board members. My fellow-editors and I would like to express our thanks at their willingness to take on these roles and warmly welcome them to The Journal of Asia TEFL.

London, March 2015
Andy Kirkpatrick