Research Special Interest Group (ReSIG) (by Nicola Perry)

IATEFL ReSIG logo
The Research Special Interest Group (ReSIG) brings together people who are interested in doing research in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). It is a broad organisation made up of, not only academics, but also other practitioner researchers, especially a growing number of teachers engaged in action research. The SIG aims to promote and support early-stage practitioner researchers taking their first steps in research. In addition, we provide a professional home for more experienced researchers who wish to engage with a community addressing key issues within ELT research and practice.

Publications

ReSIG’s mission to promote and support teacher researchers is borne out by three publications in the last two years: Teacher-researchers in Action, Teachers Research!, both published in 2015, and Teachers Engaging in Research, published in 2016*. These publications are the result of support for projects encouraging research, followed by conferences to present it. Teachers Research! was the result of an event in 2014. This in turn led to an event in Turkey in 2015 which produced Teachers Engaging in Research. In 2016, there was the ‘Teachers Research! Chile’ conference, from which we eagerly await the next publication.

Other regular publications include an annual newsletter, containing not only research papers but other articles related to research and classroom practice, book reviews, reports on events and interviews. We also produce an e-news mailing for our members three times a year to keep them up-to-date with regular events and webinars.

Events

A regular event in the ReSIG calendar is the online discussion. Running 3 or 4 times a year over a 2- or 3-week period, the discussion centres on a theme, defined by a series of questions, concepts or readings. The most recent one was entitled ‘Views of ELT History’ and was a warmer for the ReSiG pre-conference event in Glasgow in April 2017. I imagine, like me, most people would not think English language learning and teaching has much of a history. However, we all have views about the past which may influence our view of the profession and our place in it. We often assume that things have progressed and that the present is an improvement on what went before. From this discussion, it seems that there may be a lot of ‘myths’ or clichés about the past which historical research can dispel – for example, particular views about how methods have developed, or how much or how little teachers used to use the students’ mother tongue or ‘communicative activities’ in their practice. The profession is much older than I imagined and its history is fascinating. The discussion is available to everyone and can be found on our Yahoo group. The easiest way to access it is through the ReSiG website.

Opportunities to present research are important to academics and teachers alike so a key element of what we do is supporting conferences and offering scholarships to attend them. This year, the 2nd RESIG Teacher Research Conference took place at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul. Held in June, plenary speakers included Derin Atay, Anne Burns, Kenan Dikilitaş, Judith Hanks, Richard Smith and Mark Wyatt. The speakers highlighted recent developments in teacher research with a focus on different aspects of research engagement.

Earlier in the year, a significant event for ReSIG was the conference for teacher-research in ELT, ‘Teachers Research! Chile 2016′, held on 19 March 2016. The conference was supported by the British Council Aptis for Teachers and IATEFL ReSIG. It also offered two scholarships which enabled teachers from Argentina and Brazil to attend. The two scholarship winners were Laura Aza from Argentina and Debora Oss from Brazil. They each gave excellent poster presentations. Under the slogan, ‘Presentations of research by teachers across Latin America for other teachers’, the conference attracted around 150 participants, with presenters coming from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. The event was remarkable for placing teachers at centre-stage from beginning to end.

In 2017, we are supporting an online event, Classroom-based Research for Professional Development EVO 2017. The aim of this project is to provide a hands-on introduction to inquiry-based teacher development, especially for teachers working in difficult circumstances (large classes, low-resource classrooms, etc.). The project takes participants through different stages of teacher-research, engaging them in practical activities which will gradually build their confidence in this area.

IATEFL Research SIG Pre-Conference Event, Glasgow, 3rd April 2017

This one-day event aims to show how uncovering ELT history can provide useful new perspectives, both for our own professional practice and for the field more generally. The day-long workshop will be of interest and use to practising teachers and teacher educators as well as to students currently researching their own topics, historical or otherwise.

The day will be led by Richard Smith and Friederike Klippel. Richard is a Reader in ELT & Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick, where he teaches and supervises MA and PhD students. Friederike Klippel held the Chair of English Language Education (ELT/TESOL) at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich from 1994 to 2015. In the academic year 2016-17 she is guest professor for TEFL at the University of Vienna. She has published on a wide range of aspects concerning English language teaching and language teacher education.

This PCE is proving very popular but you still have time to get the early bird discount rate if you get your booking in before 12 January.

Find out more

If you are interested in learning more about the ReSIG, please take a look at our website to find out about our events and upcoming webinars. You can download the books discussed earlier and you should take a look in the Resources section. There is a plethora of useful, interesting and exciting material in there. A real treasure trove! Go and have a look!

We’re also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/iateflresig and you can follow us on Twitter @IATEFLresig.

We are always happy to welcome new members. Please come and join us!

*References 

Teacher-researchers in Action, edited by Kenan Dikilitas, Richard Smith and Wayne Trotman (2015)

Teachers Research!, edited by Deborah Bullock and Richard Smith (2015)

Teachers Engaging in Research, edited by Kenan Dikilitas, Mark Wyatt, Judith Hands and Deborah Bullock (2016)

About Nicola

Nicola Perry

Nicola is an EFL teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer, working on projects all over the world and currently in Mauritania. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL. One of her research interests is in developing learner independence and encouraging teachers to become aware of how their own beliefs about education affect what they do in the classroom. She is on the IATEFL Membership Committee and the ReSiG committee.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. If you’re not a member, find out more about joining. We look forward to hearing from you!

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