From RELC Journal
The occasion of the 50th RELC International Conference provides an opportunity to celebrate this event with a special issue of the RELC Journal. This edition of the journal includes a number of papers that examine issues and practices that are influencing approaches to language teaching in the 21st century. Included are an exploration of the role of out-of-class learning in language teaching, research-based papers on topics of broad relevance in language teaching and teacher education, as well critical reflections on contemporary issues in language education.
Jack C. Richards
The Changing Face of Language Learning: Learning Beyond the Classroom RELC Journal April 2015 46: 5-22, first published on January 13, 2015 doi:10.1177/0033688214561621
There are two important dimensions to successful second language learning: what goes on inside the classroom and what goes on outside of the classroom. While language teaching has always been seen as a preparation for out-of-class uses of language, much of the focus in language teaching in the past has typically been on classroom-based language learning. At the same time the limitations of classroom-based learning have been frequently acknowledged. The opportunities for learning or ‘affordances’ available in the classroom are hence quite restricted, consisting of a limited range of discourse and literacy practices. Today, however, the internet, technology and the media, and the use of English in face-to-face as well as virtual social networks provide greater opportunities for meaningful and authentic language use than are available in the classroom. In view of the growing range of opportunities and resources available to support out-of-class learning the paper examines what some of these opportunities are, how they are used, the kinds of learning affordances they provide, and the issues they raise for classroom based teaching as well as second language teacher education.