"I am confident that as teachers gain in confidence as researchers and as writers of research reports and articles, they will become more intrepid and seek, in other sources of difficulties, topics which will make an even greater contribution to the larger tapestry of TESOL wisdom"1 (p. 5).
I am delighted to start this editorial by sharing with all of you the recognition granted recently by Publindex-Colciencias, which is the national indexing system for Colombian journals. The high standards of PROFILE have been acknowledged one more time and for this reason, we have been classified in category A2.
In Colombia, as in other countries, there is an urgent need to contribute to the nations' growth by having scientific publications that contribute to the development of knowledge. It is also expected that journals be accountable for the use of international standards and for their capacity to foster dialogue with academic peers all over the world. In other words, there is an increasing interest in having publications that meet international standards and visibility. This new ranking in the Indice Bibiliografico Nacional Publindex 2009 acknowledges our commitment to fulfil those requirements. Thus, this achievement deserves not only ample dissemination, but acknowledgment for the people who have made our work possible and a continuous learning experience. The dedication of novice and experienced teacher-researchers and their decision to make their works and reflections public through publishing, as well as the sustained support of our reviewers, have being vital to maintaining our journal. These, together with the editorial processes we have carefully followed, have also been decisive in the evaluation processes we have gone through recently. I wish to express my gratitude to the advisory and editorial committees as well as to my working team for their encouragement and collaboration.
Our latest achievement is in tune with Rainey's (2009) assertion that teachers have gained confidence as researchers. Rainey points out that "As teachers gain in confidence as researchers and as writers of research reports and articles, they will become more intrepid" (p. 5). From the editorial processes we have led, I can assure all that this has been so because research has become more important in initial and in-service teacher education programmes. In addition, more research communities of teachers of English are being consolidated and efforts are being made to give due value to literature coming from practitioners and local contexts. All of this has had, in turn, an impact on the challenges they have decided to face upon seeing their articles published.
Our publication is a forum for research groups, teacher educators, school teachers, and novice teachers, no matter how experienced they might be. Hence, the themes addressed in their papers derive from the curiosity generated by daily experiences, from the practical or philosophical issues they need to solve or explain, and from the explanations they wish to find to phenomena concerning policies, socio-political factors, and existing educational models connected to English language teaching and learning, among others.
It is not the intention of PROFILE to publish only papers in accordance with the most fashionable ideas or topics. We want to be on the cutting edge of trends that spreads practitioners' work nationally or internationally and that empowers the teachers and teacher educators to enhance the existing knowledge of the profession. We wish to preserve a space for teacher researchers to make their work more visible and, following Rainey's remark, to encourage them to address topics which can make an even greater contribution to the larger tapestry of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) knowledge.
Aware of the importance of reaching a wider community, we now have several options with which to reach our readership. Besides our printed version, we can be found through the indexing systems and directories that have included PROFILE in their databases: Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, MLA International Bibliography, Educational Research Abstracts online (ERA), Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts database (LLBA), Latindex, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). You can also read our issues in full text online. This can be done by accessing the Universidad Nacional de Colombia Website: http://www.revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/profile/index. Likewise, full texts can be consulted by accessing the Scientific Electronic Library Online –SciELO: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=1657-0790&lng=en&nrm=iso.
This issue includes eleven papers concerning English language teaching (ELT), language policies –this time in connection with bilingualism– and teacher education. In keeping with the mission of PROFILE, the articles are derived from research, reflective practices, and innovations.
We open the first section, Issues from Teacher Researchers, with a paper by two public school teachers in Bogotá, William Urrutia Leon and Esperanza Vega Cely. It is based on an action research project conducted while participating in a teacher development programme at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. The use of video recordings, the teacher's journal and some questionnaires let them delve into the strategy chosen to help learners overcome difficulties when trying to speak English. In the findings, the authors highlight the role of games in fostering collaboration, solidarity, interaction and a relaxed learning atmosphere in class.
Next, Sumru Akcan reports the results of a study that focused on pre-service English teachers' reflections on their teaching performance after watching their videotaped lessons in company with their university supervisor at a university in Turkey. The readers will find out what those reflections tell us about teacher talk. We can also get acquainted with what happened with students' participation and interest in the lesson. Additionally, we can learn more about the role of video recording in providing opportunities for critical reflection on candidates' performances in the practicum of pre-service programmes.
The following paper draws our attention towards a common concern: authentic oral interaction in the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) class. Jose David Herazo Rivera analyses four samples of oral communication exchanges that he recorded in Colombian EFL secondary school classrooms. To do so, he examines their effectiveness for developing meaningful oral production in both student-student and teacherstudent interaction.
The next article, by Cecilio López, comes from the Mexican context and depicts moral responsibility and confidence as factors that influence teacher involvement in educational change. Based on the interviews administered to seventeen university academics, the author analyses some teachers' perceptions and attitudes towards their changing roles when confronted with curriculum innovation. He also highlights the relationship between their levels of moral responsibility and confidence, and the different roles they engage in during their teaching career.
Then, Doris Correa deals with the development of academic literacy and voice and the challenges faced by a mature ESL (English as a Second Language) student and her instructors while involved in an undergraduate course offered by a university in the United States. Critical, socio-cultural and sociolinguistic theories of writing, text and voice shed light on intertextual analysis of the data and lead to questions concerning the effectiveness of traditional product-based approaches in helping students develop academic literacy.
Teaching English through stories is the theme of the sixth paper of this edition. Nohora Ines Porras González reports the work she supervised while working with a group of student-teachers at a Colombian university. This project involved teaching children in a public elementary school, syllabus design, using stories that responded to the children's interests and likes, and lesson planning. The results indicate that stories used by the student-teachers had a significant role in children's motivation, class participation, reading comprehension, and vocabulary learning.
We continue with an issue on reading comprehension. Luz Marina Echeverri and Maria McNulty give an account of an action research project which aimed at examining the foreign language reading comprehension of public school eighth graders in Colombia. Participants experienced a directed reading-thinking approach with strategies for comprehension and application. The results inform us about the students' opinions regarding the strategies and the use of an interactive reading task. Moreover, they contain explanations concerning the contribution of the pedagogical intervention to improved reading comprehension.
The last paper of the first section gives us the chance to continue with the initiative of promoting the discussion of education and ELT policies. The article by Wilder Yesid Escobar Almeciga and July Carolina Gómez Lobatón addresses an issue of particular interest for English language teachers: identity, language and thought of the Nasa people in bilingual contexts of Colombia. The reflection is illuminated by a revision of literature and a set of interviews conducted of two members of the Nasa community. Besides addressing the factors already mentioned, the article establishes connections with teaching practices, approaches and beliefs in the area of ELT (English Language Teaching) in our country.
The second section, Issues from Novice Teacher Researchers, includes two papers based on the research projects the authors accomplished as part of the requirements to opt for the degree in undergraduate language programmes. In the first one, Daniel Fernando Pérez Niñoo focuses on the role of music in young learners' oral production in English. The study was conducted in the foreign language extension courses of Universidad Nacional de Colombia. It examines how young learners view music as a ludic tool that allows them to perform in oral communication. The study also describes the activities applied by a music teacher and how they helped to reinforce the language topics studied in other English classes.
Afterwards, we can find an article by César Julio León Chica, Catalina D'Costa Martínez and Gisela Franco Jácome who documented the designing of proficiency tests to accredit previous knowledge in American and British literature in a bilingual education programme in Colombia. The article depicts the processes followed, the criteria borne in mind to accomplish the testing task, the contextual and theoretical framework that inspired the design and the factors that, in general, have a bearing on successfully passing the tests.
We close this edition with a paper by Liliana Cuesta, who gathers some features and recommendations to design and develop online course materials. Among the aspects she highlights to engage in innovations in this area we have the following: some instructional design patterns, the value of permanent analysis and assessment to support an efficient management of online environments, and the efforts needed to implement varied educational strategies so that online instructors and learners can make the most of this type of materials.
As always, we hope the issues contained in our journal contribute to the further development of the ELT profession and look forward to publishing more research reports, reflections, and innovations. Remember: we publish twice a year and accept submissions all year round.
1 Rainey, I. (2009, December). Why do we action researchers choose our topics? In M. L. Cárdenas (Chair), 6th PROFILE Symposium. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Melba Libia Cárdenas Beltrán