The TESOL Research Agenda and Changing Language Landscapes

In keeping with the TESOL Research Agenda as a tool for identifying future directions for inquiry by researchers and practitioners, we consider language learning and teaching and the changing ecological landscapes where they occur. In describing research on language learning and teaching, we identify three main domains of research focus:

  • how individuals, be they students or teachers, develop in and respond to language learning and language use environments, given changing perspectives on what it means to learn an additional language;
  • learning and teaching in community settings, such as classrooms, online social networks, or the workplace; and
  • relations between societal change and language learning and teaching.

In this blog, we highlight research that focuses on changing landscapes for learning and teaching English in the United States and across the globe.

New Research in TESOL

In the United States, mainstream teachers in largely English-medium public schools are increasingly likely to be working with students and families whose ethnicities, languages, and cultures may be unfamiliar to them while students learn English as an additional language (EAL). In various global contexts, teaching English has increasingly been situated within multilingualism as the norm in which English may function as a lingua franca—ultimately, there has been more emphasis placed on students’ language use. Though perspectives vary, rethinking what it means to teach English and what kinds of English are taught has engaged the knowledge of language development specialists and mainstream teachers.

Here, we offer two examples of new research from TESOL’s peer-reviewed, practitioner-oriented journal, TESOL Journal, that discuss the value of incorporating diverse language practices into English teaching.

Incorporating Diverse Language Practices in English Teaching

Schaefer, V., & Warhol, T. (2019). There ain’t no doubt about it: Teaching EAL learners to recognize variation and switch/shift between varieties and registers is crucial to communicative competence. TESOL Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.504.

This conceptual article presents a communicative repertoire approach to teaching diverse English varieties, of which “standard” English is one, and how such an approach can be a tool for developing communicative competence.

Salerno, A. S., Andrei, E., & Kibler, A. K. (2019). Teachers’ misunderstandings about hybrid language use: Insights into teacher education. TESOL Journal, 10(3), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.455.

This article examines a current issue in TESOL, clarifying that while language hybridity may be viewed from different theoretical perspectives, teacher education should be designed to encourage incorporating students’ full multilingual repertoires.

Your Invitation to Communicate With Colleagues About New Research

An important avenue for members to share new research with colleagues is the Research e-Group on myTESOL, which welcomes postings about articles members have read in TESOL-related journals and elsewhere. These journals include, among others:

We look forward to your thoughts and comments about this post and to your contributions!

About Jessie Curtis

Jessie Curtis
Jessie Hutchison Curtis, PhD, is a part-time lecturer in the Program in American Language Studies and special projects research fellow in the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service at Rutgers University. Her research includes teacher education in multilingual contexts and public access to language education through bi/multilingual communities of practice. Her work includes development of a community-based language education course that became part of the Graduate School of Education social justice portfolio at Rutgers.
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