‘English’ in a global perspective
‘English’ has existed as a school subject in many countries for as long as it has in England and the rest of the UK, for example, the US National Council for the Teaching of English was founded in 1911, long before NATE. Its resources as an organisation are huge in comparison to any other English subject association and its annual conference can attract 10,000 participants.
Our trainees need to know that there is wealth of knowledge, and research in particular, available across the globe. Especially when they are researching themselves, they can be guided to the web sites of, for example:
NCTE National Council for the Teaching of English
CCTELA Canadian Council of English teachers of the Language Arts
AATE Australian Association for the Teaching of English
NZEATE New Zealand Association fopr the Teaching of English
All of these associations have journals and other publications, some very specifically for trainees. NCTE publishes English Education, a journal for teacher educators of English and Research in the Teaching of English; both, it must be said, focus almost exclusively on North American issues. Our trainees need to be aware that other countries may have differing terminologies, for example the prevalence of the term Language Arts in North America.
The umbrella organisation The International Federation for the Teaching of English organises a four yearly conference and at the last one, in Melbourne in 2003, a number of student teachers attended from England as did a number of teacher educators. The next conference will be in Canada in 2007. IFTE has its own web site.
In The National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA), the USA has, to my knowledge, the only substantially funded Centre for the study of English anywhere in the world and a number of their publications and research reports are excellent.
There are two genuinely international journals devoted to mother tongue teaching:
L1: Studies in Language and Literature
This is the journal of the International Association for the Improvement of Mother Tongue Education. This organisation holds a bi-annual conference – the next one is at the University of Exeter in March 2007.
English Teaching, Practice and Critique is a web based journal, hosted at the University of Waikato