Introduction

The English Language teaching profession is experiencing an unprecedented increase in demand. The most important reason is that for quite a few countries, the English Language has become a critical part of globalization, modernization and world citizenry. This current wave of interest in the English Language and in English Language teaching (ELT) is not without complications and controversies. Several of the most challenging issues include inequities of access and opportunities to learning English; the impact of the early introduction of English in public schools in certain countries on the cultural and personal identity of young children; the peripheralized status of ESL teachers in the US; the contested status of non-native speaker teachers of English in their own home countries; the disjuncture between national mandates for English language teaching in the content areas and the adequate training and support of teachers to do so and so on and so forth.

Regardless of the complications, ELT as a profession has to be understood within the context in which it is undertaken. With this purpose in mind, students in a masters level course entitled, Teaching English in Global Contexts, compiled this Wikibook. The students ranged from teachers who have taught EFL/ESL for an extended length of time to those who are taking beginning steps to join the profession. In our work, we have been inspired by the book edited by George Braine (2005), "Teaching English to the World" as well as the book edited by Richard Brislin and Tomoko Yoshida (1994), "Improving Intercultural Interactions: Modules for Cross-Cultural Training Programs."

The Wikibook begins with the students' educational biographies in which they reflected upon the foundational and key life experiences that shaped their journey toward and through the ELT profession over the years. The students also looked into and analyzed English language teaching and learning curricula as well as standards in various settings. Finally, the book ends with each student sharing “Critical Incidents.” In these incidents, the students developed accounts of ELT teaching crises based on not one experience but on a recurring and composite set of experiences they encountered in teaching English in their individual settings. Only pseudonyms are used in the incidents. Students chose to describe these incidents as a contextualized and inquiry-based means to share pathways of practice that they undertook to make their teaching situation workable and meaningful.

It is our hope that the Wikibook will provide useful information as well as points of reflection for others who are working to make a difference through the teaching of English.

Faridah Pawan
2010

Acknowledgment: The students and I thank Park Jae Han for training us how to use Wikispaces and for helping us to navigate through the technicalities of getting our work published in this Wikibook. His gentle and patient guidance is very much appreciated.