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Editorial to Issue 12


Sascha Stollhans

Welcome to Issue 12 of The Language Scholar!

As announced in the editorial to issue 11, The Language Scholar has been undergoing some transformation. We are pleased to introduce to you a newly configurated editorial team and advisory board! Alexander Ding and I have joined Jeanne Godfrey as Co-Editors, and we are delighted that our advisory board has grown too: welcome to new members Bee Bond, Cécile de Cat, Yolanda Cerdá, Julia Molinari and Carlos Soler Montes! We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to our former Co-Editor Martin Ward and to outgoing members of the advisory board.

The three research papers in this latest issue explore language and pedagogy from a broad and interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on classroom experiences of international students and their tutors. Boswell’s case study looks at reflective practice through the eyes of International Foundation students on STEM pathways. The study finds that, whilst students acknowledge the long-term benefits of reflective practice, such as increased confidence and self-knowledge, they initially express uncertainty and reluctance. The findings suggest a need for improved measures to ensure student accountability, increased motivation through engaging activities, and more specific reflective tasks integrated into the learning process, indicating that pedagogical scaffolding and educator support could enhance the effectiveness of reflective practice.

In Sancheti and Zacharia’s paper, language-related challenges faced by science educators in English Medium of Instruction (EMI) contexts are investigated. Conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic in India and the UK, the study involved online professional development workshops with science educators, aiming to explore their beliefs about the role of multiple registers and languages in teaching subject-specific concepts. The findings reveal educators' awareness of language challenges, their skills as meaning negotiators across languages, and their evolving understanding of the relationship between conceptual understanding and language use.

Finally, Nalbantova’s article explores the expectations of international students regarding teacher-student interactions in tutorial groups, specifically focusing on their willingness to respond when nominated by their teacher to answer questions in an open-class setting. According to the findings, few participants expect the teacher to nominate students, and nearly half feel nervous when nominated, citing low language proficiency and fear of embarrassment as key factors. The paper emphasises the need for educators to be aware of cultural differences in students’ perceptions of classroom dynamics and suggests that teacher nomination might not be a viable approach in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classroom.

Apart from the three research papers, this issue also contains two book reviews. The first one, by Cerdá, discusses ‘Language Debates. Theory and Reality in Language Learning, Teaching and Research’, a volume edited by de Medeiros and Kelly. Cerdá’s innovate approach to the book review includes personal reflections as well as a discussion of the ethical and political considerations relevant to book reviews.

Shiel’s review of ‘English Medium Instruction Practices in Higher Education: International Perspectives’, edited by McKinley and Galloway, is a critical exploration of key themes of the volume, highlighting its potential to encourage a variety of methods and interdisciplinary thinking when approaching EMI research.

As ever, we are immensely grateful to our authors and peer reviewers. We trust that readers of this issue will find the different papers as inspiring and insightful as we have. And before we leave you to enjoy the current issue, a reminder that we are currently calling for submissions to a special issue of The Language Scholar on ‘Developing Contexts of Scholarship’, to be published in summer 2024. We would be delighted to hear from interested authors by 29 February 2024.