A Case for Online English Language Teacher Education Denise E. Murray
The International Research Foundation for English Language Education
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Foreword The era of the Information Age in which we live has been shaped and transformed by numerous advances in technology. For many people around the world, access to education is now more abundant than it has ever been, in terms of individuals’ ability to attend courses online and the affordability of classes. However, a multitude of issues have arisen since the advent of online education, including the quality of that education, the assessment of course content, inequality of access due to technological constraints, and many more. Online education providers and the teachers themselves have been charged with delivering pedagogically sound courses in a fast-paced environment, often without the past experience and technical expertise they rely upon to deliver traditional brick-and-mortar type education. In keeping with its current focus on English for the 21st-century workforce, TIRF – The International Research Foundation for English Language Education – has commissioned this study of online language teacher education. This topic is central to our ongoing discussions about English in the 21st-century workforce in at least two ways. First, teachers themselves are part of the 21st-century workforce. How those teachers gain their initial professional qualifications and continue their ongoing professional development throughout their careers is thus an appropriate topic for TIRF to investigate. As technological developments exert more and more influence on education in general, and teacher training in particular, it behooves us to understand the impact of those developments. Second, all over the world, people are hungry to learn English. Whether they need English language proficiency to gain access to higher education, to acquire employment, to access training opportunities within their organizations, or to advance within those organizations, there is evidence that being bilingual or multilingual will help position those individuals to succeed (Pinon & Haydon, 2010; Ramaswami, Sarraf, & Haydon, 2012). This claim is particularly relevant if one of the person’s languages is English. The members of TIRF’s Board of Trustees are therefore pleased to share this latest study in our series of reports on key concerns relating to English in the workforce. We continue to promote rese