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Vol 34 No 2, April - June 1996
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Editorial: The Heart of the Matter

A number of articles in this issue are in response to our January, 1995 call for papers on EFL program administration. Having seen once thriving language programs suffer dropping enrollment or teacher exodus following changes in academic leadership, we've come to believe that management is the heart of the matter. Yet the focus of academic training in TEFL/TESL has been on linguistics and language acquisition; and few professionals find themselves fully prepared to face management issues when promoted to positions of department heads or program directors. Happily this problem is now being confronted by universities which have introduced courses in ESL/EFL administration. A growing number of publications is also addressing this issue-some of the best are listed in our Teacher Resources section.


Our lead articles address teacher supervision as a central concern of EFL/ESL program management. Stoller advocates a process of clinical supervision. The supervisor and the classroom teacher work together to determine the focus of a lesson observation and the means by which data will be collected. Together they analyze the data, determine what is actually happening in the classroom, and ultimately decide on future action the teacher might take. Tenjoh- Okwen uses a similar approach in supervising teachers in Cameroon. Breaking with the colonial tradition where the ESOL inspector ruled with imperial prerogatives, Tenjoh-Okwen advocates a more humane role in which the inspector is the teacher's partner in professional development.


Management issues are discussed in a broader context in the articles by Chenard and Okita. Chenard looks to corporate business for ideas in directing an EFL department in Saudi Arabia. Aiming at encouraging creativity and innovation, she examines management style, organizational structure, and personal relationships. Another view of program management is provided by Okita in his description of an in-service training course operated by a local education center in Japan.


You will also find in this issue a special insert on the American heartland. While people around the world have an image of New York City or San Francisco or LA, those cities are no more America than Paris is France or Bangkok is Thailand. The real America is the heartland, away from the big cities and away from the interstate highways. We cover some of the same ground that John Steinbeck traveled over thirty-five years ago and described in his best-seller Travels with Charley: In Search of America . More recently, TV commentator Charles Kuralt has explored these same roads; and writer Garrison Keeler has lived right next to them. In prose, poetry, and pictures, we share with you our collective view of the American heartland.


A chronicler of American life, Steinbeck set aside his writing and took to the road when he felt the need to see first hand the changes that were taking place in his country. I empathize with Steinbeck, and in a similar vein, feel the need to take to the road to see the changes that have evolved in TEFL during the four years that I have been back in the United States. With this issue I complete my tenure as editor of the Forum and pass my blue pencil to my successor Dolores Parker. I have been fortunate to work with the talented, close-knit staff that produces Forum ; and I look forward to receiving my next issues by international mail.


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Vol 34 No 2, April - June 1996
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