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Page history last edited by Aiden Yeh 11 years, 8 months ago

What new directions should research take in the future?


Continue Examination of NNEST/NEST dichotomy


Tommy: One of the things I am specifically interested in seeing is an examination of the paradox Enric & Lucie wrote about: our discomfort with the limits of the NNEST/NEST dichotomy, but its ongoing usefulness for research (sounds likeMedgyes).


Research on/by NNESTs in Inner/Outer Circle

Tommy: Another is research that ignores the inner circle. Not because those countries aren't relevant, but if the majority of English communication between NNESs is in?nd with people from periphery countries, then they are *less* relevant than they were a generation ago, and more research focused on those outer-circle interactions is overdue. This corresponds to the lack of EFL-context studies Enric & Lucie mentioned, and is another motivation for my own research.



Adding different dimensions on the name issue

Ana: I think that in order to get away from this repetition, we need to add other dimensions, try different models such as multicompetents, intercultural speakers, translinguists, etc.


Terry: As I have said, I think our field has moved on from deconstructing the "native speaker" fallacy and laying bare that there is discrimination and prjudice among some native speakers ("fossils" I like to call them) TO focusing on how all teachers can improve themselves and also how we all should aspire to be "intercultural

speakers" and also "translinguistic teachers" (Rashi Jain mentioned this term in Ana Wu's blog, "NNEST of the Month, and I want to know more aout it.) So I think more research should be done on this in various contexts. For example, Byram has done a lot of research on ICC (intercultural communication competence) but for Europe. Is this model transferable to other countries like the countries of Asia? So research on what it means to be an "intercultural teacher" in Korea, China, Japan, of Thailand would be interesting. Also, the thorny issues connecting race and non-native teachers issues should be looked at in more research studies.



NNEST Characteristics:  Different aspects of language teaching Activity/Teacher Performance


Enric: I didn't mean to use 'characteristics' in a stereotyping sense.What I meant is that we need serious studies looking at different aspects of the language teaching activity (teacher cognition, class preparation, classroom discourse, teacher talk, classroom management, assessment, etc.) and take the NS/NNEST variable into account, and interpret findings under the light of existing research on NNESTs.


Masakazu: I've been interested in research on teacher performance and specific factors associated with language teaching. One of the biggest reasons that I decided to study this area is because at the end of the day we need to establish a fair standard for ELT emlployment. And in order to do that, we need to know or perhaps show what really relevant qualification is to teaching. And when I say "show" means to present empirical evidence that a certain qualification (e.g., teaching experience, linguisitc knowledge) is really relevant (or not) to teaching. I also think we need to find out to what extent a certain qualification may impact teaching performance. To the best of my knowledge, research on this area is little or a few at best partly because of its difficulty in objectively measuring the impact of a factor such as teaching experience upon teacher performance. It's also difficult to measure "teacher performance". But I do feel the need of the development in this area so we can really present strong empirical evidence to show to people in administraive posittions and say "see, native speaker status isn't relevant at all to teaching".


develop a list of factors associated with language teacher performance. I'm already excited just thinking about it.

It's a little off topic but if we manage to identify specific factors associated with teacher performance, it would also help us undestand what kind of teacher education is important for prospective language teachers. I believe this is also an important area of research for NNESTs.



Intervention: How to help ESOL teachers to become effective teachers?

Davi: I think as a field, we have done quite a bit in terms of assessing differences (assigned and perceived) and preferences (both from students and IEP directors). But in my opinion, what's missing now is a focus on INTERVENTION-type research that can help us move beyond a state of awareness to actually creating change


What most NNESTs are concerned about is: "How can I improve my self-esteem and fight formy status as a legitimate ESL/EFL teacher?"





One booster for an nnest is just to wake up every morning and say: well I have the "CAPACITY" to speak more than one language, to teach it and to be able because of it, to go through all these reflections that we are going through in this evo nnest.



As for your 'booster' question, I think the first one on my list is to ALWAYS validate an NNEST's feeling of insecurity, inferiority, unworthiness, etc. I think EVEN WHEN there is no discrimination (subtle or overt), simply **thinking/believing** that you're in an unwelcoming situation or context can work against your professional capability. In other words, even though the reason for the feeling or fear may not be coming from the environment, it can still be VERY REAL in the NNEST's personal narrative and thus be just as destructive if not dealt with. So I think we should always start the process of empowering NNESTs by validating feelings of inferiority and/or discrimination, whether they're external or internal in origin.




When I mentioned the 'confidence booster' I was actually referring to the kind of activities the NNEST IS is doing, this workshop for instance, or simply becoming aware of the issues. Self-confidence and amount of self-criticism changes from person to person (for instance, I am one who tends to focus a lot on whatever I could have done better or whatever opportunity I missed to make the right point). However, there are some common thoughts shared by NNESTs regarding lack of skills, etc. These thoughts would make sense in the early stages of language learning. The question is when do we stop being 'a language learner' and become 'a language user', as I mentiond

at the live session. All NNESTs (at least those of us who clearly feel non-native) must transform our self-perception from the 'learner' to the 'user' stage. Unfortunately, it looks like not all NNESTs take this simple step. I think I already mentioned in an earlier posting that one very surprising result I have found was that NNESTs who had

spent more than 3 months abroad were less attached to the 'NS myth' than those who had never been abroad or only for a very short time. This contradicted earlier results by Medgyes, and so it came as a surprise, but I now think it makes perfect sense. Once you experience your capacity, once you see you can do it, then nobody can keep you rhead down (if you understand what I mean). The paradox is that NNESTs often gain legitimacy and empowerment once they have experienced they can 'survive' in a NS environment.  The new challenge is for NNESTs to assume that the natural environment for using English now, and more so in the future, is not a

native-speaking society, but a multilingual global society in which English is the lingua franca spoken by many L2 users with different L1 backgrounds.




Teachers with a curiosity and interest in their job do research on their own classrooms, their teaching styles and strategies, their students' reactions. Researchers on language teaching cannot seriously do any research unless they are teachers themselves. You need to be part of the profession in order to understand it. It's not like doing research on a virus, that you can study it from outside. I think that language teaching can only be studied having at least one foot in the profession. Of course, most teachers have so many hours of teaching that they can hardly think about doing and publishing their own studies, but this is one particular type of research. Just asking the question "Why did my students this year did better in this particular thing than my students last year?" is the first step to doing your own action research.


What methods of research should be primed in future NNEST studies?


Quantitative Research


Survey Studies



Qualitative Research


Narrative Studies

Ethnographic type studies

classroom observations,

in-depth field notes,

stimulated recalls,

interviews - in short, a lot of triangulation




Tommy: Again, I don't think one paradigm, method, or approach should be favoured over another. That leads to stagnation and dogma. I'm excited to read quantitative and qualitative work. I like survey studies and narrative studies.


Davi: I think ethnographic-type studies (classroom observations, in-depth field notes, stimulated recalls, interviews - in short, a lot of triangulation) could help us make more sense of all the research we have so far. Given the nature of many NNESTs' concerns (identity and empowerment), I believe we should prime qualitative studies that can be informed (not driven) by quantitative studies.


Terry: I think this depends on the researcher's preferences, abilities, and interests. I like ethnographic research, and also politically oriented research like "paryicipatory research". But I admire people who can do quantitative research well. 



See, Week 2 Discussion topics, http://nnest-evo2009.pbwiki.com/Week-2

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