A warm welcome to the latest issue, January 2018, of The New English Teacher. The journal has been published after unavoidable delays caused by a complete restructuring of the Editorial Board. Readers will find of interest research articles on a variety of topics written by scholars from Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.

The issue will appeal to both practitioners as well as researchers of ELT since the articles chosen cover a wide range of topics such as discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, listening assessment, communicative strategies, blended learning, and English pronunciation instruction.

Melada Sudajit-apa’s article is the first one in this issue. It provides valuable insight into language as a semiotic system, the discursive construction of identity, and the operators of ideology and power. The study with its critical approach to discourse analysis explores the process that prove social changes can follow discourse and use of language. The author hopes that by transitivity analysis of process types and through participant roles, an institution can play the role of an active agent initialing and offering different forms of assistance to disabled children.

Patrisius Djiwandono’s article, “The Effect of Blended Learning on Reading Abilities, Vocabulary Mastery, and Collaboration among University Students” reports that Blended Learning could have a positive impact on reading comprehension skill, vocabulary mastery, and collaboration among learners. Given the right factors such as digital literacy, attitudes, and literacy, Blended Learning could benefit EFL Learners.

Harald Kraus’ paper discusses the potential benefits and weaknesses of thematic progression (TP) patterns that aim to improve EFL students’ academic writing by raising the awareness of the patterns. The paper brings to light the potentially problematic consequences of overusing constant TP patterns. The author concludes that there are definitive changes in the way the students composed their essays after being introduced to the concept of TP.

In the article “English Communicative Strategies Used by Thai EFL Teachers,” Nathaya Boonkongsaen looks at English Communicative Strategies (CSs) used by Thai EFL instructors teaching in high schools in Nakon Ratchasima. The findings in the article shed light on the use of CSs in typical classrooms for the purposes of maintaining conversations and solving the problems faced by EFL teachers and students in dealing with oral communication breakdowns.

Michael Yeldham’s internship papers is a novel approach that encourage learners to use their abdominal region which would help them pronounce certain problematic sounds better instead of exclusively using their articulatory functions. In spite of studying a small research sample, the writer indicates that learners show progress when they were taught how to use their abdomen to pronounce certain long vowel/diphthongs, and voiced consonants.

Moving on, Suthathip Thirakunkovit’s article “A Historical Reviews of the Development of Listening Assessments : Pedagogical Implications to English Teaching and Testing “ highlights the difficulties in understanding the process of developing listening skills and in assessing listening skills. Language teachers and test developers should find this article beneficial in designing better and more appropriate listening tasks. Because of the very nature of listening comprehension, test developers are urged to consider carefully what is to be tested and how to test it.

The last article in this issue is “Uncovering the Ideologies of Internationalization in Lesson Plans through Critical Discourse Analysis.” Aaron Hahn’s study is yet another paper on discourse analysis. The author points out that though a corpus of lesson plans in Japan conform at the macro level to “kokusaika” or internationalization in respect to English, the non-Japanese languages are more or less completely erased. This is turn could lead to potential ideologically risky implications that in turn promote naturalization and the “nihonjiron” philosophy which looks at the world from the perspective of Japan and the outside world. A study of the corpus indicates that the lesson plans provide students the language tools to engage with the world, while staying away from the world simultaneously.

We thank all the writers for their insightful and interesting articles. The New English Teacher will continue to ensure a high level of quality and academic rigor. Innovative papers on different areas of ELT are always welcome. Best wishes from the editorial team.

Raman Shashi Kumar