At the end of January I had the privilege of attending/speaking at the 1st Mekong TESOL Conference in Can Tho, Vietnam (see Photo Gallery for photos). The conference theme "Tailoring English Teaching to Regional Needs" nicely captured what our field has been working hard to establish in the past couple of decades: every context is unique and a one-size-fits-all method, as was assumed with CLT in the 1980s and early 90s, does not work. It was great to see the conference being organized by local practitioners and researchers engaged in second language (L2) teaching in Vietnam. This was very much a conference by locals for locals. Overall, this experience gave me a renewed appreciation for L2 teaching in Southeast Asia. It also helped me better understand the challenges many L2 teachers face in Vietnam. In fact, I would really like to return to the Mekong region in the near future to conduct research on local teachers' practices (particularly on pronunciation pedagogy and speaking strategies) and what these practices mean for their students and their L2 learning process (although, granted, this would be an outsider's perspective on local practices). But for now, I'm going to incorporate some of these new insights into the graduate course on TESOL methodology I'm teaching this coming semester.
Interested in local pedagogy? Here are two books I think every instructor/researcher/administrator involved in L2 teaching needs to read:
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Understanding language teaching: From method to postmethod. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Canagarajah, S. A. (Ed.). (2005). Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
I am a Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Wollongong in Australia. I blog about L2 learning, L2 teaching, L2 teacher education, and research.