Review of Second and Foreign Language Education
|EDITORS: Van Deusen-Scholl, Nelleke and Hornberger, Nancy H.
TITLE: Second and Foreign Language Education
SERIES TITLE: Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 4
Dr. Melodie Lorie Cook, University of Niigata Prefecture, Japan
This volume is part of a 10-part encyclopedia series focusing on issues in
language education, which, as a whole, is intended as a reference for ''every
university and college library in the world that serves a faculty or school of
education'' (general editor's introduction, p. xi). According to the editors,
what makes this volume significant is the inclusion of ''foreign language'' in
addition to second language education, in response to the increasing global
significance of foreign language education.
Volume 4 contains articles on theoretical and practical approaches to second and
foreign language education under the themes ''Theoretical underpinnings'',
''Current approaches'', ''International perspectives'', ''Teacher preparation and
professional development'', and ''The role of technology.'' Common themes which
emerge from the work as a whole include problems with the wholesale application
of communicative language teaching, challenges for educational policies with
regards to minority or heritage languages, and the transformation of language
educational through technology.
Each chapter in each section contains definitions of key terms, a history of,
current trends in, evaluation of the contributions to and drawbacks of, and
future directions of the theories, methods, or policies presented. Chapters are
written by many leading experts in the field of second and foreign language
education whose names will be familiar to students of second/foreign language
Section 1: Theoretical underpinnings
This section consists of four chapters focusing on applied linguistic theory and
second/foreign language education, sociolinguistics and second language
education, individual differences in second and foreign language learning and
conditions for second language (L2) learning written by Claire Kramsch, Sandra
Lee McKay, Robert C. Gardner, and Rebecca Oxford.
Section 2: Current approaches to second and foreign language learning
This section is comprised of five chapters focusing on content-based
instruction, task-based instruction, professional communication, content and
language integrated learning (CLIL) and second language learning in a study
abroad context. Contributors include Fredricka L. Stoller, Teresa Pica,
Britt-Louise Gunnarsson, Do Coyle, and Barbara Freed.
Section 3: International perspectives on second and foreign language learning
This is the largest section, containing 10 chapters on foreign language learning
in K-12 classrooms in the United States, issues in heritage language learning in
the United States, learning and teaching endangered indigenous languages,
community language learning in Australia, second and foreign language learning
in South Africa, second and foreign language education in Canada, language
education in Europe, innovative second and foreign language education in the
Middle East and North Africa, and innovative second and foreign language
education in the South Pacific. Authors include Myriam Met, Olga Kagan and
Kathleen Dillon, Leanne Hinton, Michael George Clyne and Sue Fernandez, Nkonko
M. Kamwangamalu, Margaret Early, Peter Broeder and Waldemar Martyniuk, Mahmoud
A. Al-Khatib, Anne Pakir, and Noel Watts.
Section 4: Teacher preparation and professional development
This section presents four chapters focusing on the professional development of
foreign language instructors in postsecondary education, network-based language
teaching, teacher training in bilingual education in Peru, and nonnative
speaking teachers of English as a foreign language. The first chapter highlights
the professional development of foreign language teachers in American
postsecondary institutions; the second, research findings on computers connected
to local or global networks; the third, teacher training in bilingual education
in Peru, and the fourth nonnative speaking teachers of English as a foreign
language. Authors include Linda van Hoene, Richard Kern, Paige Ware and Mark
Warschauer, Virginia Zavala, and Oleg Tarnopolsky.
Section 5: The role of technology in second and foreign language education
This last section comprises four chapters focusing on computer-mediated
communication, learner corpora in foreign language education, computer-assisted
language assessment, and distance learning for second and foreign language
teaching. Authors of this section include Steven L. Thorne, Sylviane Granger,
Paula Winke and Fei Fei, and Robert Blake.
The main text is followed by a subject index, a name index, and a table of
contents for each of the other nine volumes in the series.
True to the aims of any encyclopedia, the articles are clearly structured, easy
to understand, contain current information, and offer an extensive list of
citations for further reference. All chapters follow a standard structure,
enabling readers to find information in any chapter with ease.
Volume 4 is useful for beginning students learning second and foreign language
education concepts, new or seasoned teachers looking to update or refresh their
knowledge, teacher educators, and graduate students or researchers looking for a
handy source of information and ideas for future research. While reading through
the book, I found myself becoming excited about the possibility of taking on
some of the research projects recommended by the authors.
However, as someone who works in Japan, I was more than a little disappointed to
find little or no reference to the teaching of foreign languages (English
primarily) in Japan or in other Asian countries, such as Korea, which have
similar language policies, pedagogies, and assessment practices (a quick perusal
of the list of topics provided in the other volumes comprising this series
indicates that chapters focusing on Japan appear in only 3 of the 10 volumes).
I chose to review this particular work not only to determine its usefulness for
a future teacher education course at my institution, but also in the hopes of
deepening and broadening my understanding of my local situation. In many
chapters, the authors speak of globalization and highlight many of the issues
Japan faces, for example, those related to learner identity, evaluation of
outcomes of foreign language study, the status of content-area knowledge versus
teaching skill, and even similar to problems to those faced by teachers in
Europe with a CLIL (content and language integrated learning) mandate, to name a
few. However, there is no mention of Japan in Section 3, ''International
perspectives on second and foreign language learning.'' In fact, six of the 10
chapters focus on issues relevant to the United States (3 chapters), Canada, (1
chapter), Australia (1 chapter), and Europe (1 chapter). The remaining four
cover issues in the Middle East, North and South Africa, the South Pacific, and
Southeast Asia. Expecting to see more ''international perspectives'' I was
surprised at an imbalance in favour of Western countries.
This volume thus seems to be intended primarily for the bookshelves of academic
institutions in BANA (British, Australasian, and North American) (Holliday,
1994) countries. More focus on TESEP (state education at tertiary, secondary and
primary) (ibid.) contexts of which Japan is a member, would be helpful to those
teaching pedagogy to language educators around the world.
Since many students of second/foreign language education intend to teach outside
of their home countries, it would be doing them a service to include more
information about foreign language learning around the world in books such as
this. In addition, some focus on TESEP countries may also ensure inclusion of
this series on the library shelves of their universities which have faculties of
education. If scholars from TESEP education are represented in ''international''
volumes, they may, in turn be more likely to accept the views of scholars beyond
their own borders.
Holliday, A. (1994b). The house of TESEP and the communicative approach: The
special needs of state English language education. ELT Journal, 48(1), 3-11.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
| ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Dr. Cook has been teaching English as a Foreign Language at the university
level in both Japan and Canada since 1993. Her primary research interest is
in foreign language teacher education in Japan, its current state, and how
it can be enhanced to better serve the needs of Japanese teachers of
English in modern-day Japan. Interest in this topic came out of her
research on the outcomes of an overseas program of language and pedagogical
study for Japanese teachers of English where she learned that many
teacher-accreditation-granting institutions in Japan do not require
prospective teachers to take courses related to pedagogy or second language