Author Archives: cristinasmartin

Nathanael Rudolph

Nathanael Rudolph

Thank you for participating in this interview. As editors of the NNEST of the month blog for a few years, we have had the opportunity to learn about the experiences of self-identified “Non-native” speakers and teachers of English from all over the world. For example, they have shared their pedagogical practices and ideas, perceptions on the challenges of hiring practices, and their scholarship and interest in continuing advocating for the need to expand views of what we mean by “English teaching.”

In addition, we have had the pleasure of participating in evolving conversations pertaining to the goals of the Non-native Speakers of English Interest Section (NNEST IS). Because of our own positionalities as teacher-scholars across institutional and geographical settings, disciplines, languages, and other aspects, we are particularly interested in making the conversation about the future of the NNEST IS more accessible to other teacher-scholars.

Interview by Cristina Sánchez-Martín

Continue reading

Elvira Ambite


Elvira Ambite was born in Ávila, Spain, in 1991. She loved English since she was a little girl, and she’s taught it for almost ten years. After living abroad for several years, she went back to Madrid in 2015, where she works at a language school.

Could you please tell us about your educational and professional background?

I completed a degree in English Philology from the University of Salamanca. I had spent several summers teaching English to teenagers in my town. After that, I wasn’t really sure about making a career in education, so I decided to move to The Netherlands and work as an au pair (babysitter) while I made up my mind.  I ended up staying in Amsterdam for two years. During that time, I learned a great deal about teaching from my host family’s children, and it was then when I realized that education was my true calling.

I came back to Madrid to get my master’s degree in 2015. While the experience of studying that particular MA from the Complutense University was, to put it lightly, soul-crushing, I was incredibly lucky with my internship, which involved teaching English at a secondary state school. My mentor was an amazing professional and I cherished every moment I spent there.

Since then, I’ve worked as an English teacher in many contexts, including high-end companies and language teaching schools like Kids&Us. I always keep learning and trying to get better at my job.

Your story was recently featured in the Spanish edition of the Huffington Post in an article after you published several tweets about the challenges of being a non-native English teacher in Spain. What drove you to write those tweets? What was your goal? Did you expect the response you received?

To be honest, I didn’t have any goal other than to get some of the anger off my chest. I’d been looking for a better job for almost a year and this issue with the native teachers is a constant barrier. I was particularly disappointed that day. I could never have imagined the impact of my message. I remember writing the tweets, turning my phone off and falling asleep in my friend’s car -we were going to the beach for a few days. When we arrived at our destination, I saw hundreds of responses to my tweets, so I got a little overwhelmed. I’m not used at all to that kind of online attention. I am very happy that my vindication reached so many people and the fact that, at least, it started a conversation.

As a self-identified non-native English teacher, what do you find more rewarding and challenging? How do you navigate both the positive and negative responses to your work?

The most rewarding thing in the world is observing actual progress in my students. For example, when a middle-aged engineer that one year ago could barely produce a sentence is able to have a successful conversation with a client on the phone; or when children overcome their shyness and can narrate a perfectly coherent story without even realizing it.

In the context where I teach, I guess the most challenging thing is the quality of the contracts. For example, oftentimes, teachers feel the necessity to get several jobs to be able to survive, which means they have very limited time to prepare their lessons. In general, it is a context where teachers are required to function with constant exhaustion; therefore, they struggle to concentrate on doing their jobs. It is really draining.

In order to handle the responses to your work, communication skills are key, in my opinion. A lot of people want immediate results and you need to be able to earn their trust without patronizing parents and adult students. If you like your job, if you plan your lessons properly and you are willing to communicate with the group, you will navigate successfully through any potential obstacle.

From your experiences, how do you envision the future of English teaching in the context where you teach? Is there anything you would like to see changing?

I think there are a lot of misconceptions to overcome. The popular belief that the best English teacher must be native is seriously damaging our work. Not only our work conditions as non-native English teachers but also the quality of the services provided to students. And I think employers and consumers are both to blame for this situation. I do understand some of the causes of the issue. First, I understand that learning English seems an urgent need and an imperative for most job positions. I also understand the mindset of many English-speaking young people who, when they live abroad in a non-English speaking country for a year, prefer a teaching job over a job that requires more physical labor, even if they have not been trained to do it. What I do not understand, and I certainly do not support is the fact that many English-speaking companies and language schools are bypassing their duty of educating their students. There are some relieving examples. For example, Kids&Us explains parents why native teachers do not have any priority, and they do it in an effective way. But this is an exception. As long as language schools keep hiring people by looking at their passport, the problem is going to be there and results are going to be just as mediocre. Most of these native teachers do not meet the requirements to perform their job. Chatting with the students is not an English lesson, and some of the stronger learners can gain fluency from it, but it means leaving behind those who have more difficulties or need more specialized support.

What would you recommend to non-native English teachers who are starting their professional career?

Persevere. Beginnings are hard but better opportunities will arrive. Our profession is wonderful. It can be fun, challenging, rewarding, hard, intense, fulfilling, all of that in one lesson. Keep educating yourself, there is always something left to learn. Make the effort of empathising with your students. Learn how to motivate them, every group is different and discovering how to bring them in is as rewarding as teaching them learning strategies, there is always a way. Plan your lessons carefully and always have a plan B in case the first plan doesn’t work for that particular group of people. And, if you genuinely have fun, they will too.

You hold an MA degree in linguistics from Trinity College. In your opinion, how does the scholarship in applied linguistics and adjacent fields contribute to the professionalization of English teachers? Is there anything you would have liked to learn that you didn’t have the chance to in your MA degree?

       I don’t. I spent a study abroad year in Dublin and I was lucky enough to study in Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Since the degree of Philology does not exist per se in Ireland, all subjects related to linguistics belonged to the MA degree. In my view, the level of that MA was significantly below my knowledge as an undergraduate in Salamanca. However, the focus of the program was better-aimed and, as a student, I felt more stimulated. I cannot say that the program was more teaching-oriented, but it gave students a much more accurate idea of how English works as a language and, since the groups are smaller, a very exciting opportunity for debate. Besides, the fact that students are evaluated mainly through essays, where they have to show that they have actual, deep knowledge of the subject, I find far more interesting and rewarding than being assessed through tests.

Dr. Jorge Diego Sánchez


Interview by Cristina Sánchez-Martín

Hi Jorge, thank you for participating in this interview and sharing your experiences with us. To begin with, could you please tell us about your background?

Hi, Cristina. Thanks for getting in touch with me. I graduated in English Studies, and I have a PhD in Postcolonial Studies (Indian diaspora cinema and literature). Nevertheless, teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) as well as English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is a passion I have been developing since an early age.  I enjoyed an Erasmus experience (European programme for foreign study) in Dublin (Ireland) in my third year, and I was a Teaching Assistant (hence TA) for courses in Spanish at the same university I was studying at. I really enjoyed the experience and so I decided to repeat the experience as a TA and went to London to teach at a private high school.

Then I started as PhD candidate, and some of the undergraduate courses in general English language required teaching. I had been doing EFL tuition since I was 14 years old to friends and other children/students, but this experience at college enhanced the possibilities as students in college were more enthusiastic. I realised the benefits of changing approaches, motivating students, and fostering a motivating approach to oral skills. I continued teaching these courses after completing my PhD at two other universities in Madrid (Spain). These were ESP courses for students doing degrees in International Relations, Medicine, Engineering and municipality’s officers.  I must confess, it was a challenge in the beginning because I had to develop new material and, at a turning point, I became aware of the fact that that I had to change the whole scope and make the students the ones creating their own material. I became a facilitator of specific real contexts and materials (I organised meetings with ambassadors, patients and showrooms) so that students could see the feasibility of real experiences where English and a high degree of motivation was expected. Lack of motivation was in fact the burden I could find in every group (no matter which age or background).

I came back to teach at University of Salamanca two years ago, and I have been teaching English courses (both EFL and ESP) trying to implement those strategies. High number of students in class (for instance, last year groups gathered 220, 127 and 91 students) havebeen the problem I have found in this new experience. Nevertheless, throughout the implementation of collaborative projects in teaching innovation, these classes have been a delight to participate in! Some colleagues wonder how I feel splitting my academic life between postcolonial studies and EFL/ESP teaching, and I must confess that it is a great balance to handle!

You have recently been granted a project on teaching innovation, could you please tell our readers about the project?

Yes, this year I applied for a project for the EFL course I teach for first year undergraduate in the Degree of History. It is called “Promotion and Transversality of English Language in the Degree of History: Interdisciplinary Proposal around the Concepts of Resilience and Precarity” and it departs from the necessities and areas that I thought could be implemented after teaching a similar course the previous year. The course is a B1 standard (Common European Framework), and it gathers a high number of students (this year 91) with different levels in oral, writing, listening, communication and ethical and cultural attitudes.

The project departs from a similar experience that was developed last year in a ESP course for the fourth year Medicine degree students in two groups of, respectively, 227 and 48 students. A group of experts in different sections of medicine collaborated with a set of experts in linguistic to design a real context (International Conference for Young Practicioners of Medicine) so that the whole course was developed and assessed as part of this Conference. Writing of abstracts, presentation and discussion of work in progress, and writing of a scientific paper and academic presentation of this research project were the activities of assessment. The project aimed at strengthening oral skills in real context for these students. The experience introduced new trends of the field, such as Medical Geology and Rheumatology, as an attempt to implement new areas to motivate students. Oncology and Dermatology were the other two areas out which students were expected to pick a topic. Rubric for assessments were designed and produced for every activity by both groups of experts to guarantee that the medical context and competences were integrated in the linguistic requirements of the course.

This year’s project agglutinates a group of experts in History, Cultural Studies, Journalism and ESP to organise the contents of the course around the topics of Resilience and Precarity. The reason to choose these two topics was that they were very contemporary and could be used as critical terms to look at the present/past/future of History.

For that project, you gathered a significant number of non-native English teachers from different disciplines. What led you to that idea? What steps did you take to implement the idea into an actual teaching and research project?

Yes, in the project there are members from Australia, Canada, India, Spain and the UK. The non-native teaching lecturers do teach EFL and ESP courses as well as modules in literature, history, gender and cultural studies. There are also 6 members graduated in History who are teaching at state schools which offer the subjects of history in English. There are also journalists with a high knowledge of English that they have had to use in real situations, such as how to describe a historical event for a catalogue in English, how to interview a historian and the sort of situations. The problems we non-native teachers face are ideally shared with the students, or at least are taken into account to prepare the material of the lessons.

In terms of research, what are the benefits and drawbacks (if any) of working collaboratively with scholars and teachers across languages, disciplines, and institutions?

I am very lucky to have gathered a group of professionals who believe that any research of innovation in teaching project is devoted for students and society, not for the members or the main researcher. Nowadays, I have noticed that some projects are excuses for groups or individuals to cultivate themselves instead of offering and sharing something. Members of the group agreed to come on board when the idea was merely sketched and agreed to help as much as they could with ease and gratitude. I am a huge fan of team-work, so the main benefit of structuring the course according to the advices and recommendations of the members truly adds to the course.

I am particularly keen on the collaboration between non-native and native speakers from different regions because it is particularly enriching for everyone. I wish I could devote more time and attention to this interaction in upcoming years. Also, a lot of knowledge from different perspectives is shared on relevant contemporary issues and lots of interaction take place in meetings, emails and the sort of communication. From a personal perspective, I count on an interdisciplinary group which is able to provide answers about any topic as well as is eager to devote time to outlines, discussions and perspectives. I know that some members of the group have started to think about resilience and precarity since the project was awarded and they are working about the topics with their students (both at high school, undergraduate and post-doctorate level).

The experts have been given suggestions for those topics (they shared their own choices from their own fields), have assessed the adequacy of the choices and the development of students’ work, worked on the production of rubrics, etc. Besides, there have been two activities organised by the project that have aimed at disseminating the English language in real contexts making students talk English outside their classrooms (their comfort zones): a Film seminar showing films in English showing specific moments in history presented by experts of the topic. English is given visibility for the students of History, and these students meet undergraduates of Philologý as they have enrolled the seminar. It is a five-part seminar and 74 students joined. Also, the project has collaborated with the International Conference entitled “Women, Visual Arts, Literature and Human Rights” which was organised by the International Seminar of Contemporary History on Human Rights at University of University of Salamanca to commemorate the International Day of Women (March 8-9th, 2018). Some of its members, as international respected academics do participate in the project and so we organised two parallel activities. The former is a film in the previous seminar and the latter the meeting with an artist that is exhibiting at the painting show that the Conference commissioned. Students will have to create a leaflet, review or podcast script of the exhibition (as training for their final assessment) and they will interview the artist.

The drawbacks of working with such a big international team (25) is that sometimes emailing takes a bit of time, but that is a minor drawback in this year’s team because all of them are very committed and involved in the project. Also, lack of funding is a burden that we inventively try to bridge with creative alternatives, such as online meetings and Skype calls. Nevertheless, some funding to invite a writer to interact with the students or to bring a person from overseas to teach an interactive seminar could enlarge the outcomes of the project. Also, I tried to arrange a collaborative work with a national museum. A real visit was not possible because of lack of money and so a virtual tour was done… but the students missed the opportunity to interact with the people in charge of the educational programmes to which they were outlining activities in English. The same problem in the access to facilities for transportation is involved in the impossibility of students to visit the High Schools (with associated teachers within the project) to present their activities and interact in real life with classes that they might be teaching in a few years’ time.

What are the expectations for the project in terms of research?

Intellectual outputs involve Rubrics that have been designed taking into account the interdisciplinary nature of the project as well as the design of activities for EFL teaching using original material. A proposal to explain the benefits of teaching EFL through films in a conference for teaching innovation has been accepted. Results in relation to the understanding and analysis of reality and history through the concepts of resilience and precarity are expected together with a corpus-based review of the date collected in the writing tasks. I personally hope that the project gets further dissemination in the specific areas of research and work so that people can enjoy the work of students as well as the suggestions of the group!

What projects are you currently involved in related to the teaching of English?

The research project, as previously stated, aimed at organising the contents of the courses according to the topics of resilience and precarity. According to different writers (Susan O’Brien, Tabish Khair, Judith Butler, Marianne Hirsch…) these two terms allow to evaluate the functioning of cultures, politics and socio-economical contemporary issues. The course if a B1 EFL and we have made a selection of moments in history, characters, books, films, paintings, performances… that refer to historical moments. They are used to practice the contents of the specific level and for the final presentation where students need to present one of these topics orally in a formal context besides producing a writing submission in one of the following templates: a leaflet for a museum, a script for a podcast and a review for a newspaper. There are rubrics that have been produced taken into account the feedback received from all experts to ask for real contexts where English language will be demanded.

Finally, what advice would you give to other teachers and scholars interested in carrying out projects with colleagues from different parts of the world and whose disciplinary and institutional backgrounds are not exactly the same as yours?

Just enjoy the group, the course and the management of as well as the specificities of some intellectual outputs! And organise the project for the students because, ultimately, you teach for students, not for your own merits!

Thank you Jorge and congratulations on such an interesting project!

Thank you Cristina for this interview and for being such an active member of the team!

Ju Seong Lee


photo Ju Seong Lee

Ju Seong  (John) Lee has recently defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). His research interests include English as an International Language (EIL), Informal Digital Learning of English (IDLE) and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC).

Interview by Cristina Sánchez-Martín

Thank you John for taking the time to do this interview with us. You have recently defended your dissertation, so congratulations on your accomplishments! To start off the interview, please, tell us about yourself.

I was born and grew up in South Korea. During early childhood and adolescent, I had a deep interest in the world outside my home country, and discovered English as a means to learn and explore the world. I also enjoyed teaching others and helping people learn. So, I majored in English education and TESOL for my B.A. and M.A degrees, respectively. In addition, from 2000 to 2014, I gained hands-on experience by teaching ESL/EFL, Korean as a foreign language (KFL), computer literacy, and physical education in a variety of educational (public/private university, secondary school, primary school, community/private language school, cram school, summer camp) and multicultural contexts (USA, New Zealand, Korea, Mongolia, and Thailand) for diverse students (4 years old, K-12 students, university/graduate students). I am currently pursuing my PhD degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Recently, I have defended my dissertation, titled “Informal, Digital Learning of English (IDLE): The Case of Korea University Students.”

Your research interests include English as an International Language (EIL) and Informal Digital Learning of English (IDLE) within Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), how did you become interested in these areas?

I built up a foundation in EIL when I took a course in English and English education in Japan in the age of globalization with Dr. Yuji Nakamura during Spring 2014 at Keio University, Japan. During my time as a doctoral student at UIUC, I completed the certificate program in SLATE and took several linguistics courses including Ling. 500: Sociolinguistics 2 Theory and Practice (taught by Dr. Rakesh M. Bhatt), which solidified my foundation in EIL and broadened my grasp of theoretical issues in language use. Currently, I am a proponent of Matsuda’s (2017) conceptualization of EIL – “a function that English performs in international, multilingual contexts, to which each speaker brings a variety of English that they are most familiar with, along with their own cultural frames of reference, and employs various strategies to communicate effectively” (p. xiii). This definition encompasses many diverse perspectives known under different terminologies or referred to as ‘critically oriented scholarship,’ such as English as a Lingua Franca, Global Englishes, English as a Global Language, and World Englishes.

In respect to IDLE, I traveled to Morocco in May of 2014 to work with my advisor, Dr. Mark Dressman, to plan his Fulbright Senior Scholar project on English learning at three Moroccan universities. During this trip, I was surprised by the fluency and communicative competence of nearly every Moroccan student with whom I spoke. How could this be? Dr. Dressman and I wondered how under-resourced Moroccan university students excel in oral communication whereas fully resourced Korean students struggle to speak, despite similar colonial histories, English language policies, and EFL contexts. Although several variables (e.g., geographic location, learning style) may influence the English acquisition of Moroccan students, the preliminary data suggest that they actively engage in IDLE activities independently of their teachers, while Koreans are heavily dependent upon formal in-class learning (Dressman, Lee, & Sabaoui, 2016). In a broad sense, IDLE can be understood as ‘self-directed, naturalistic, digital learning of English in unstructured, out-of-class environments, independent of a formal language program.’ For example, EFL students autonomously write on or view others’ Facebook walls in English for the purpose of connecting with others. But a teacher does not affect this behavior.

With the advent of new technology and its enormous pedagogical benefits, recent studies have begun implicating the pedagogical benefits of CALL on the development of EIL competence among EFL learners. However, past studies have been conducted in formal educational contexts, leaving out an in IDLE context, an emerging CALL territory. Hence, I have decided to examine the under-researched relationship between IDLE and various dimensions of EIL competence.

As a collaborator in the article “Effects of videoconference-embedded classrooms (VEC) on learners’ perceptions toward English as an international language (EIL)” (2017), you argue that Videoconference Embedded Classrooms have positive pedagogical benefits in students’ learning English as an International Language.  Could you describe how other English teachers could implement VEC in their contexts? What hypothetical drawbacks could they encounter?

Recently, Dr. Yuji Nakamura (Keio U.), Dr. Randall Sadler (UIUC) and I have noticed two significant gaps in current EIL knowledge: (1) EIL studies with detailed overviews regarding how to implement EIL pedagogy are few, and (2) fewer empirical studies have been conducted. To address these issues, we have taken an interdisciplinary approach by tapping into the fields of EIL and CALL. More specifically, since 2014, we have established and hosted a virtual roundtable six times, in collaboration with 18 internationally-renowned TESOL/applied linguistics scholars from 15 universities. Additionally, using this online platform, we have also developed and implemented an original pedagogical design, “Videoconference-Embedded Classroom (VEC),” with the goal of helping Japanese EFL university students improve their EIL awareness level.

Pedagogical details (consisting of three stages) are described in the paper: 1) pre-videoconference task (VT), 2) during-VT, and 3) post-VT. At the Pre-VT stage, students engaged in both in-class and out-of-class tasks by reading EIL-related materials and having follow-up group discussion facilitated by an instructor. At the During-VT stage, the instructor set up the videoconferencing using an LCD projector, the Internet and audio-visual equipment in collaboration with the university staff. Students could interact with EIL scholars and other students from inner, outer, and expanding circle countries during the videoconference. Based on the Pre-VT and During-VT, the students wrote reflective essays at the Post-VT stage. As a consequence of VEC, students could engage in critical thinking by reviewing diverse opinions on EIL themes during Pre-VT, comparing/contrasting a particular issue from various perspectives discussed by the EIL experts (and users) during During-VT, and coming up with their own original opinions in the form of a reflective essay and final presentation during Post-VT.

We also provided a practical guideline for how to overcome potential challenges based on a series of our trial and error. For example, the coordinator should identify the tech-environment and logistics of each participant (e.g., Wi-Fi-connection, microphone, web-cam etc.) and constantly troubleshoot a range of unanticipated technological issues. Additionally, since the participants reside in different time zones, the coordinator has to consider those different time zones in addition to academic schedule in each institution and individual schedule.

Having defended your dissertation recently, what advice would you give to other PhD students as they move on in the different stages of their dissertation (data collection, data analysis, and writing activities)?

During the early stage of a doctoral program, it is important to choose a topic you are deeply passionate about and you can be the best at. However, it is also crucial to choose a topic that your advisor may find interesting or at least relevant to his or her research areas. In my anecdotal experience, by selecting the topic (that closely aligns with my advisor’s), I have become involved in his various projects; Consequently, I can spend an ample amount of time with him, developing my personal relationship with him, while getting direction, advice and feedback related to my academic and professional issues. That’s why it is important to choose a topic that is closely aligned with your advisor at the beginning stage.         

During the data collection and analysis stage, a thorough preparation is required for making both processes smooth. For example, I received formal letters of invitation to collect the data at three investigation sites and obtained approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). At the research sites, I also needed to arrange several meetings with my gatekeepers (and collaborators), administer surveys, conduct interviews, and observe classes. And the list goes on and on. Many times, I also had to be flexible and “thick skinned.” In retrospect, every step was not easy. But throughout these processes, my advisor was a tremendous help for its preparation and implementation through constant help, feedback, support, and encouragement. Another piece of advice is to start writing while collecting and analyzing data. My advisor said one common mistake many doctoral students make is they tend to first collect data in their third or fourth year of the program and then wait. After that, they start analyzing and writing it up. This is not a recommended practice because it takes longer to complete the work. PhD study is full of a series of unexpected personal and professional delays and interruptions.

In respect to writing activities, the “divide and conquer” technique worked best for me. I think writing a dissertation is like climbing a high mountain or running a marathon. It is long and boring. And it is often exhausting! Based on my experience, I highly recommend that you divide your writing tasks into small segments and work on your daily task one at a time. Putting differently, you should strive for tiny, daily advances rather than attempting to do everything all at once. It is also important to reward yourself when you meet your short-term and long-term goals, which help you sustain your writing without being burnout. At the time of writing, you may not feel like much progress is being made, but this will become big improvement after one, three, and six months of your continuous work.

During the final stage of your doctoral study (a.k.a. ABD), you need a high level of personal motivation and ability to work independently because now you must work in “unstructured” environments. Personally, my support (and inner circle) groups such as my wife, parents, Dr. Dressman, and Dr. Nakamura have helped me keep focusing on the completion of the dissertation. At this stage, I suggest you learn to pace yourself and take advantage of your support groups who love you and whom you trust.  

You have been an active member of the NNESTs of the Month Blog and TESOL International, among other associations, in what ways have these professional development opportunities influenced your work?

I firmly believe that my current scholarly work is the sum of all that I have known (and met) through NNEST-of-the-month blog and TESOL International. This NNEST blog community has helped me learn and disseminate the EIL concept and its pedagogy and establish professional networks with EIL-oriented scholars around the world. This has led me to get more actively involved in TESOL International by serving as a proposal reviewer on World Englishes and NNEST research strand as well as an award reviewer on Albert H. Marckwardt Travel Grants and The Ruth Crymes TESOL Fellowship for Graduate Study at the TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo.

I highly recommend graduate students attend national and international TESOL conferences where they can meet scholars in their areas of specialization. You can meet with them, have a meal together, and ask for their counsel on your research and career on several formal and informal occasions. You can gain a lot of practical advice and wisdom from senior and junior scholars who have gone through this process. So, please show initiative and talk to them. Sometimes, it only takes a conversation and a follow-up email to someone else to start collaborations, too. These professional activities have had a significant influence on my work.

Finally, tells us about your future plans in the field. What research and teaching projects are you going to be involved in?

At present, there is no validated EIL measurement scale. So, my collaborators and I developed EIL Scale (EILS) that is theoretically underpinned and empirically validated through exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). This process generated a four-factor structure with 14 items. However, this new instrument has been validated only in a single country (i.e., South Korea), which limits its validity and applicability in other cross-cultural contexts. So, for future projects, we want to examine the factor structure of EILS among other EFL students and examine if EILS can be considered as a validated assessment tool for measuring EIL competence in broader cross-cultural contexts.

In addition, my recent studies (Lee & Dressman, In press; Lee, Accepted) investigated the relationship between the quality of IDLE activities used by Korean university EFL learners and their English outcomes. It was found that a diverse use of IDLE activities by participants contributed to greater willingness to communicate (WTC) online and higher productive vocabulary scores. But we want to further explore the relationship between different language outcomes such as English writing and reading abilities and IDLE activities. We also want to delve deeper into how personal sources of variance such as students’ majors, study abroad experiences, or family socioeconomic status may affect the English learning outcomes in relation to IDLE activities.


Dressman, M., Lee, J. S., & Sabaoui, M. A. (2016). Paths to English in Korea: Policies, practices, and outcomes. English Language Teaching. 28(1), 67-78.

Lee, J. S., Nakamura, Y., & Sadler, R. (2017). Effects of videoconference-embedded classrooms (VEC) on learners’ perceptions toward English as an international language (EIL). ReCALL. doi:10.1017/S095834401700026X

Lee, J. S & Dressman, M. (In press). When IDLE hands make an English workshop: Informal digital learning of English and language proficiency. TESOL Quarterly.

Lee, J. S. (Accepted) Informal digital learning of English (IDLE) and second language vocabulary outcomes: Can quantity conquer quality? British Journal of Educational Technology.

Matsuda, A. (Ed.). (2017). Preparing teachers to teach English as an international language. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.