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Volume 3 Number 2, Spring 2006, Pages 1-192   

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From the Editor-in-Chief

    Bernard Spolsky and Jin-Wan Kim

As usual, the papers show a wide range of interests and come from several different countries (although, echoing the last World Cup, Korea and Japan show up well). McKinley frankly and honestly describes the difficulties that Japanese university students have to learn to write in English, and how hard it is help them acquire the needed skills and desired "voice". Yeon He Choi also studies the teaching of writing, this time to Korean university students, and gives more evidence of how difficult this is, even when taking advantage of new computer-based techniques. Are we perhaps expecting too much? Remember, universities in English-speaking countries continue to complain about the level of writing of their students, and elite Western European education expected its graduates to show proficiency in writing Latin or Greek only after years of concentration on this goal: we are expecting a wider pool of students to write in a second language after years of training in reading and understanding.

Proshina tackles a different topic - the attitude of Far Eastern Russian English teachers and students to varieties of English. There is, she discovers, no acceptance of the kind of Russian English that most do in fact use, but a stereotyped valuing of British English on the one hand and a pragmatic preference for American English on the other hand. There is still the underlying mistaken belief that English relates only to these two cultures, rather than recognition of its growth as language of wider communication in Asia.

In a second paper from Korea, Hae-Ri Kim describes experimental use of literary material in teaching English at the middle school level. The revenge of the linguists who have dominated English language teaching has been to exclude the literary content that was once the crown of language teaching (and it still highly honored by literature departments). This study represents a new wave of efforts to restore literature to language teaching, and provides encouraging evidence that it can be started successfully with intermediate level students.

Carole Griffiths looks not at teaching in Asia, but teaching English to Asian students in New Zealand. She contributes to studies of language learner strategies by reporting on careful observation and wise analysis of the differences in achievement of two young adults in a ten week intensive course accompanied by a homestay situation, one of who made much more rapid progress than the other. The author is wisely cautious in her conclusions, but the paper is a valuable addition to the literature on the good language learner.

The final paper by Tae-Young Kim also looks at Korean learners, this time in a carefully planned study of the attitudes and motivation to Americans and to English of several hundred 11th grade students. Two significant orientations are revealed; one is the growth of anti-American sentiment, with political views starting to weaken the attractiveness of English. The second is the East Asian phenomenon of what is called the "Dragon Gate," appearing in Korea as hakbul-orientation, belief in the significance of a university degree to social and economic success, and expressed in the critical significance of high stakes tests which will permit admission to universities. Through careful statistical analysis of questionnaire results, the author reveals new complex motivational patterns that should form the basis for further valuable studies.

Bernard Spolsky

Managing Editor's Note

The continued wonderful contributions of the authors and the magnificent editorial work of our associate editors and reviewers have helped us to produce a world class journal. This issue contains stimulating and forward-looking papers on the teaching and learning of English. I would like to express my appreciation to our editorial members who have contributed much time and energy in reviewing and editing manuscripts.

As Prof. Spolsky described, the articles in this issue address five different areas of the profession: L2 writing (Jim McKinley and Yeon Hee Choi), Russian English (Zoya Proshina), literature-based L2 teaching (Hae-Ri Kim), L2 learning strategies (Carole Griffiths), and L2 learning motivation and attitude (Tae-Young Kim).

Finally, we would like you to help us to produce a world class journal, and we are happy to provide more space for your high-quality articles.

As we move into the third volume, we are pleased to provide more space for your high-quality articles.

Managing Editor
Jin-Wan Kim