Research & Teaching vs Teaching & Research : TESOL 2023

I'm currently attending the 2023 TESOL Convention in Portland, Oregon, USA. At the opening on Wednesday, the Presidential Panel was on 'Inspiring the Future of Research in ELT' and featured Joyce Kling (President, TESOL International Association (2022–23); Senior Lecturer, Lund University, Sweden) and Jun Liu (President, TIRF; Rector, City University of Macau, China; Past President, TESOL International Association (2006–07) as modeators, and David Nunan (Trustee, TIRF; Professor Emeritus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; Past President, TESOL International Association - 1999–2000), Peter De Costa (Coeditor, TESOL Quarterly; First Vice President, AAAL (2022–23); Associate Professor and MATESOL Program Director, Michigan State University, USA), Shondel Nero (Inaugural Recipient, TIRF James E. Alatis Prize (2016); Professor of Language Education, New York University, USA). and Özgehan Uştuk (Chair, TESOL Research Professional Council; Postdoctoral Fellow, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China). 

The debate about the divide between teaching and researching has been going on a very long time, but that doesn't mean it has gone away, so this discussion was a welcome one, although only lively / engaging in parts. 

Here are some bullet points from notes I took (much of them are direct quotations from the speakers - unfortunately, I didn't have time to record who said what most of the time). Much of this seems self-evident and not new, but the fact that this is taking place indicates there is a need for this to be an ongoing discussion. What seems lacking is an acion plan. 
  • Shondel: When it comes to collaborative research, teachers are too often perceived as consumers rather than partners
  • Researchers need to spend more time in the classroom 
  • Do the research 'with' the teachers not 'on' the teachers
  • The best research is the research that is done in your own backyard
  • David: teachers need researchers and researchers need teachers
  • Teacher research should be considered systematic reflection in your own practice made public
  • If researchers don't collaborate with teachers,  they end up asking questions that teachers never ask = pointless
  • Teachers are often scared of the concept of research, and research often divorced from the teaching
  • Jun: We need to think about a teacher-researcher persona
  • Shonel - Reseacher can only ask the questions if they understand the context. This is why they need to visit classrooms 
  • Research needs to be more contextual, relevant to the classroom
  • Peter - Researchers need to be in the schools, and research needs to deal with day-to-day classroom realities
  • Researchers need to involve students, materials writers, policymakers - it needs to be more participatory 
  • Teaching English is far more than English and far more than just teaching
  • If a teacher is curious about learning and trying to understand how to teach better, then the teachers is also a researcher
  • The researcher KPI is how much they publish; the teacher KPI is how well teach. Helping the teacher teach better should be a KPI for researchers
  • We always use term 'teacher researchers' How about the term 'researcher teacher'?
  • Peter - Building community is important - the classroom doesn't exist in a vacuum
  • Research should be more contexualised, flexible and based on local resouces
  • Shonel - we need to understand the broader societal issues to become better teacher-researchers


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