I am delighted to announce the completion of TESOL International Association’s 2014 Research Agenda (RA). We hope you will find it of interest and value to you. This RA is the result of the work of a task force consisting of eight leading TESOL professionals who are both researchers and practitioners. The RA was developed on the basis of the expert guidance of the members of the task force as well as extensive consultations with various stakeholders and TESOL members.
Two previous RAs have been produced, the first in 2000 and the second in 2004. This RA, unlike the previous RAs, is accompanied with suggestions on ways to use the agenda and put it into actual practice. This ensures that the new RA is directly relevant to TESOL’s mission of advancing the quality of English language teaching through professional development, research, standards, and advocacy.
The purpose of this RA is to guide individuals to frame questions and help TESOL commission a series of studies that would have significant impact on practitioners. The RA is presented in both text and visual formats to make it easy to navigate through and find the needed information.
Considering that research is important for effective classroom practice, and acknowledging a gap between research and classroom practice, the association aspires to take the lead and fill this gap. A lot of the current research does not deal directly with pedagogical issues in the classroom such as the effectiveness of different types of exercises or formative assessment strategies and techniques. Many researchers are not classroom teachers and, thus, their research or the pedagogical implication of their work many not be relevant to classroom teaching/learning. Using TESOL’s 2014 RA, we hope to encourage researchers to refocus some of the questions they ask to help teachers meet the challenge of improving student learning.
To raise the focus on research within TESOL, several activities are planned to disseminate the RA. Two sessions will be held at the March 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto as well as the virtual seminar, “Implementing a Research Agenda,” to be conducted on 29 April to discuss the RA. Reflecting the association’s intentional commitment to research, TESOL plans to start commissioning research in July 2015. TESOL’s new strategic plan includes several strategies to ensure that the research produced by the association is made accessible to all teachers to apply and use in their contexts.
We believe that TESOL’s new RA is unique and comprehensive and will effectively guide the association’s research into contributing to the knowledge base and expertise in English language teaching. We are very pleased to share this document with you and we hope that you will find it useful and of benefit in your context.