The influence of politics on research and implications for TESOL
Throssell, P and Lu, J, The influence of politics on research and implications for TESOL, Linguistics and language education in new horizons: The link between theory, research and pedagogy, Nova Science Publishers, S Fan, T Le & Q Le (ed), New York, pp. 129-139. ISBN 978-1-63482-800-0 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]
Research is often utilised as being the basis for key areas of change in the world.
These include knowledge development, the basis for changes in national governmental
policies world-wide and (seemingly) the answer to world health problems. With research
valued so highly it can be argued that researchers should have independence in carrying
out their sacred mission: to question values and to contribute to knowledge.
Consequently, research should not be influenced detrimentally by the politics of
institutional or governmental decision makers. Research energy can be drained by
research involvement that is ‗side-tracked‘ or deflected from a clear and transparent
research focus towards the aims of those who seek to control research choices, activities
and results for their own benefits.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) has increased in
prominence throughout the world as English achieves increasing acceptance as the global
language. Consequently, research into a wide range of aspects related to the improvement
of teaching and learning is needed for the area to continue to be dynamic and open to
ongoing change. This chapter critically examines differing levels of research activity and
linkages to the influence of politics. The relationship between research and politics is
complex and ever-changing. As a result of the shifting nature of the interaction there are
elements of conflict and tension inherent in the relationship. However, politics acting in
an unconstructive manner upon research can create tension and dissonance among
researchers and research communities. It is suggested that the value of the research that is
currently being encouraged within the hegemonic research community needs ongoing
questioning. Intellectual curiosity in regard to seeking knowledge about learning is being restricted or even stifled leading to a need for a deeper understanding of how this is
occurring. The response to the politics of research in a key area such as TESOL may
restrict researchers to following discourses that may reduce the focus and quality of
research undertaken relating to TESOL.
Research Book Chapter
research, politics, TESOL, English as a global language, change, learning, equity, social justice, social change