My research agenda follows two paths. The first path was initiated by my dissertation and interests in the professional and cultural learning of English language teachers. The second path arose out of necessity to develop the curriculum for the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Professional and Cultural Learning of English Language Teachers
My dissertation research project investigated the adjustment process of sojourning English language teachers in Japan and South Korea. This exploratory multiple case qualitative study helped me to identify many areas for further investigation into the professional and cultural learning of English language teachers (ELTs) around the world. I have submitted to the Asia EFL Journal a paper that focuses on the cultural learning of my dissertation’s participants using Holliday’s Host Culture Complex (1994) as the theoretical framework.
As of March 2017, I have begun the data collection stage of a new research project investigating the role social media plays in the cultural and professional learning of sojourning ELTs. I plan to wrap up data collection by the end of the semester and to analyze it over the summer. My goal is to submit a paper for publication by the end of 2017. Concurrently, I have found sufficient online evidence to support my theory that much of the literature on international students’ cultural adjustments can be applied to new sojourning English language teachers. This is part of a larger project that I intend to turn into a book. I am using my blog at http://sojourningelts.wordpress.com/ to share my preliminary findings of both of these projects.
My dissertation has provided me a clear research agenda many years beyond this academic year. To summarize this agenda, I am interested in researching the adjustment process of other sojourning ELTs, the identity of sojourning ELTs, the professional learning of the many student and classroom cultures in which that ELTs will find themselves, the re-entry process of sojourning ELTs to their respective home countries, and the relatively new phenomena of conducting online research, specifically research involving social media. Methodologically, I seek to become a more resilient qualitative researcher at the same time expanding my repertoire to include mixed method studies.
I am currently working on several research projects associated with curriculum development at CESL. One is on faculty perspectives of developing and implementing an extensive reading program. This came about when I realized that the CESL curriculum did not address any extensive reading practices in its current form. As curriculum coordinator, I was curious to learn why this was so and this prompted me to investigate faculty perspectives. The literature on the benefits of extensive reading is growing, but there are not many studies detailing successes and challenges of integrating extensive reading into existing curriculum. I anticipate the paper to be completed in the summer of 2017.
The second research project focuses on the Shawnee Hills IEP Camp, a participant-driven professional learning opportunity I designed for IEP faculty and staff. There is a growing need for non-traditional professional conferences, and the literature on the value of edcamps, which the IEP Camp is based on, is growing (Carpenter & Linton, 2016). The purpose of the study is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the IEP Camp based on participant feedback.
For the next academic year, I would like to focus on IEP teacher cognition. I am very intrigued by the different perceptions and attitudes teachers have towards research in applied linguistics and second language education. As an advocate for research-based pedagogy, I find myself in conflict with teachers who see little to no practical use in research. I want to better understand their perceptions and share these findings with others in my position. I feel that, if we cannot connect theory and practice, we will keep repeating the same mistakes and our profession cannot fully advance (Borg, 2009; Tavakoli, 2015).
Borg, S. (2009). English language teachers’ conceptions of research. Applied Linguistics, 30(3), 358-388.
Carpenter, J.P. & Linton, J.N. (2016). Edcamp unconferences: Educators’ perspectives on an untraditional learning experience. Teaching and Teacher Education, 57, 97-108.
Holliday, A. (1994). Appropriate methodology and social context. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Kozinets, R.V. (2010). Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Tavakoli, P. (2015) Connecting research and practice in TESOL: a community of practice perspective. RELC, 46 (1). pp. 37-5