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Volume 2 Number 4, Winter 2005, Pages 1-140   

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From the Editor-in-Chief

    Bernard Spolsky and Jin-Wan Kim

I start by quoting the Asia TEFL President's New Year's message for 2006. President Lee wrote:

First, we should concentrate our efforts on the publication of our Journal to make it more widely recognized internationally. I would like to ask those who plan to contribute articles to the Journal to be rigorous in paper preparation. I would also like to ask editorial committee members to examine every submitted article exhaustively. To globalize our Journal, high quality articles in terms of content and written expression are extremely important. We are establishing a Best Research Paper of the Year Award to promote scholarship.

The editor of Language (without question the major linguistics journal in the world) recently passed on a letter from a colleague talking about Charles Dickens' complaints about the life of an editor:

Here is a story from P. Ackroyd's biography of Charles Dickens. In 1852 Dickens was the main editor of a popular magazine, Household Words. In that single year he read over 900 manuscripts, accepting only ELEVEN - and substantially rewriting all of those; he wrote or read more than 2,000 letters, and he wrote David Copperfield. He continued editing at this rate for the next 20 years, while writing and publishing some of his most famous novels. He worked from 8AM to 11PM most days. And he received large quantities of hate mail, as editor, much of which he responded to. But he also found time to write Christmas stories each year, remain involved in many charitable enterprises (e.g. setting up a home for 'saved' prostitutes and paying for many poor to set up a new life in Australia), and maintain an active speaking schedule throughout England and Scotland.

We don't want to compare our editorial team to the great English novelist, but we will do our best to meet Professor Lee's challenge!

In this issue, we include six new papers reporting on research. Warrington summarizes published arguments for using "needs analysis" especially with adult students, finding ways to let them indicate to the teacher what they know and what they hope to learn. Junju Wang describes a detailed study, using a questionnaire, of teachers' and pupils' reports of the use of the mother tongue in what are said to be immersion English classes; the participants say the mother tongue is used and useful. Su-Jen Lai provides background on models of situated learning, and applies this to a detailed study of a single student. Her study is particularly interesting in revealing the shortcomings of questionnaires and the importance of in-depth interviews. A group of six researchers in Japanese universities and schools (Naoyoshi Ogawa and colleagues) report on a pioneering investigation of the content (subject-matter) and form (genres) of English textbooks used in Japan, China and Korea, laying a useful foundation for the kind of comparative study that will benefit Asia TEFL. Wendy Lam reports on a study that aimed to see whether second language students can be taught strategic competences relevant to oral language use. A thorough analysis of the results of two matched small groups of learners found no clear evidence of effect (one strategy improved over time in the experimental group, but the much the same occurred with the control group). Wasima Shehzad raises an interesting question about lexicon and idioms from a corpus study: she explores words and expressions about time in two corpora, and finds that they are not reflected in EFL textbooks.

This issue completes our second volume, and I would like to express personally and on behalf of Asia TEFL my deepest thanks to all our contributors, editors, associate editors and to EDU KLC for a great year's work, and my appreciation of the sterling work, efficient organization, and outstanding leadership of our managing editor, Professor Jin-Wan Kim. May our third volume in 2006 meet President Lee's challenge!

Bernard Spolsky

Managing Editor's Note

With regret I announce the resignation of Musheng Cheng and Malachi Edwin Vethamani as associate editors. I appreciate their excellent work as associate editors of our journal. I also welcome the new associate editors, Yonglin Yang (Tsinghua University) and Ganakumaran Subramaniam (University Kebangsaan Malaysia), and the following new members to the Editorial Board: Olga Sichyova (Amur State University), Chul Joo Uhm (Chonnam University), and Yong Suk Kim (Korea University of Technology and Science).

As Prof. Spolsky described in From the Editor-in-Chief, the articles in this issue address six different areas of the profession: needs analysis (Stuart Warrington), L1 use (Junju Wang), situated learning (Su-Jen Lai), textbook analysis (Naoyoshi Ogawa et al.), strategic competences (Wendy Lam), and corpus analysis (Wasima Shehzad).

Finally, we would like to call your attention to our challenge, "high quality articles," and we are pleased to provide more space for such articles.

Managing Editor
Jin-Wan Kim