Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism: 6th Edition

24 February 2017

This month we are very excited to be publishing the 6th edition of our international bestseller, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright. In this post we interview Colin and Wayne about where it all started, the collaborative process and what the future holds for Foundations…

 Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 6th EditionQ1: Colin, how does it feel to be handing over control of the book to Wayne?

It was a dream come true when Wayne agreed to work with me on the 6th edition of Foundations. Since the 1st edition in 1993, research and writing on bilingualism and bilingual education have mushroomed so much that revising the 2011 5th edition by myself made no sense at all.

Finding somebody with such an extensive knowledge of bilingualism, multilingualism and bilingual education, a broad and international understanding, totally sane and balanced, and much younger than myself was wonderful.

Wayne and I met in Bristol (UK) and instantly found we had very similar ideas about the future and contents of the Foundations book. A close academic and personal friendship became a wonderful part of my life. Within a few hours of meeting, I knew that the future of Foundations was in the best possible hands, and I am enormously grateful to Wayne for taking on this responsibility.

Q2: Wayne, how does it feel to be handed control of the book from Colin?

I read the 1st edition of Foundations as an undergraduate student, and the 2nd and 3rd editions in my graduate programs. Colin’s book inspired me throughout my career as a bilingual teacher, and was a key resource as I began conducting research. I’ve used the 4th and 5th editions in my own courses. I was thrilled when the 4th edition included citations to some of my work, and even more thrilled when I was invited to help update one of the chapters in the 5th edition. Foundations and many of Colin’s other excellent books and articles have been a guiding force for me and so many others in the field for a long time.

Needless to say, it has been a tremendous honor to join with such an esteemed and outstanding scholar as Colin as co-author of this 6th edition. Colin and I had friendly correspondence occasionally by e-mail for many years related to various academic tasks. It was a wonderful experience to finally get to meet him in person in Bristol to discuss our plans for this and future editions. I confess to feeling unworthy of such an important task, but Colin quickly put my fears to rest. Working closely with Colin on this edition has been one of the most enjoyable experiences in my academic career. Colin proved to be a great mentor and friend.

I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure Colin’s original work remains an influential and beneficial resource for the current and next generations of students and scholars.

Colin and Wayne with Tommi in Clevedon, 2012

Colin and Wayne with Tommi in Clevedon, 2012

Q3: How did the collaborative process work with your being thousands of miles apart in very different time zones?

We both live almost 24/7 on email, and we both tend to answer each other’s emails very quickly. So communication has been highly efficient, focused and ever-friendly. It is also helped by Wayne getting up very early in the morning, and myself working quite late in the evening. So the time zone difference of 5 hours between Purdue and Bangor is hardly noticeable.

Q4: Wayne, was it difficult to take on Colin’s ‘voice’ and maintain the style of the previous editions?

Surprisingly no. Colin’s ‘voice’ is one of the things I have greatly enjoyed in the prior editions. Colin is very good at writing about complex issues in a way that is easy for readers to understand. So I was very accustomed to Colin’s engaging writing style and I suspect it has had a subliminal impact on my own over the years. I found I didn’t need to exert any particular effort to match our styles. In fact, when reviewing our final proofs it was sometimes hard for me to distinguish Colin’s original words from my own additions!

Q5: Did you disagree about anything along the way or did you both have the same ‘vision’ for the 6th edition?

It was really odd, but we always seemed to agree easily and rapidly, mostly because our vision, viewpoints and understandings are so similar. Also, we both have great respect for each other’s strengths, which are often complementary, and we both seem to be good at taking advice from each other and from the many experts who reviewed every chapter.

Q6: What is new in the 6th edition?

Since the 5th edition of 2011, there have been so many new publications and so much research, new ideas and evolving viewpoints that the 6th edition has been thoroughly revised and updated. With students in mind, the 6th edition provides an improved reading experience making a valuable resource for course instructors, professional development providers, study-group leaders and all readers.

Importantly, there are many new and more thoroughly covered topics including: translanguaging; dynamic bilingualism; transliteracy; multiliteracies; superdiversity; bilingual assessment; multilingualism; the nature of bilingual and multilingual identity; bilingualism and economic inequalities and advantages; digital tools for language revitalization; forces, mechanisms and counterweights in building bilingual education systems; recent developments in bilingualism and brain imaging research; bilingualism on the internet and in information technology. There is also a new or greater focus on a variety of instructional approaches and issues, as well as important policy developments in the US context.

To address the large number of citations and references that grew substantially with each edition, over 860 older and redundant citations have been removed. These have been replaced with over 350 citations to more recent research and current developments, most of which have been published after the 5th edition was published in 2011. All demographic and statistical information has been fully updated.

Figures, tables, and text boxes have been reformatted and are now numbered for easy reference. End of chapter recommended readings and study activities have been revised, plus discussion questions and many web resources have been added. We were especially pleased to include for the first time a comprehensive glossary with definitions for bolded key terms that appear throughout the book.

Q7: Which part of the book did you most enjoy working on?

Much has changed in terms of policy in the US and around the world. We enjoyed writing about the end of No Child Left Behind, the beginning of the transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act, and especially about current developments more favourable to bilingual and multilingual education such as the growing number of US states adopting the Seal of Biliteracy, California overturning Proposition 227 through the passage of Proposition 58, the expansion of CLIL across Europe, and developing nations around the world turning to multilingual education as a solution to challenges in providing a basic education for all children.

We also enjoyed revising and adding new end-of-chapter material, thinking of ways the contents of each chapter could be used to engage students in meaningful in-class or online discussions, providing practical ideas for short research activities, and connecting students with real-life examples via the internet.

The 1st edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, published in 1993

The 1st edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, published in 1993

Q8: Foundations has been hugely successful since the first edition was published in 1993. Why do you think it has been so popular and has continued to sell so well?

In 1993, there was no comprehensive introduction to bilingualism and bilingual education. Mike Grover, the founding father of Multilingual Matters, noticed that Colin’s 1988 book ‘Key Issues in Bilingualism and Bilingual Education’ was selling as a textbook even though it was not written for that purpose. Mike had the vision for an international textbook that was as comprehensive as possible. Colin took the challenge. Then, in the early 1990s, Ofelia García played a key role in broadening Colin’s understanding from the psychological and educational to the sociological and political. She has been central to reviewing the draft of every edition since 1993. The first edition of 1993 and the subsequent editions in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, sold well particularly in the United States, but also with sales in almost every country of the world. Mike’s vision has been fulfilled.

Some very kind expert reviews have appeared over the years, particularly mentioning the multidisciplinary and international approach, the willingness to provide a balanced and critical view, the attempt to simplify the complexities without losing understanding, and the attempt to write in a relatively simple and straightforward style with international students in mind. These elements seem to be part of the character of the book and have made the book a bestseller.

Q9: Is the 2017 6th edition an ending or a beginning?

Multilingual Matters envisage that the book will go on from strength to strength to at least a dozen editions! Work on the 7th edition begins with the publication of this, the 6th edition. Wayne Wright is now in charge, and the authorship will naturally change to ‘Wright and Baker’.

We are always looking for ideas about new themes, so if you have suggestions, they are very welcome. You could influence the 7th edition and help us move this famous textbook into the next six editions.

For further information about this book, please see the video above and the book’s page on our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like The Assessment of Emergent Bilinguals by Kate Mahoney.


Tourism, Public Transport and Sustainable Mobility

17 February 2017

This month we are publishing Tourism, Public Transport and Sustainable Mobility edited by C. Michael Hall, Diem-Trinh Le-Klähn and Yael Ram. In this post, Michael discusses the under-researched relationship between tourism and public transport and the many positives to be found in tourist use of public transport.

Tourism, Public Transport and Sustainable MobilityPublic transport is something that has become a major focus for many cities and regions in recent years. For cities, this is often connected to the need to cut traffic congestion and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet climate change goals. For regions, especially in rural and peripheral areas, public transport is about connectivity and access, and ensuring that people who live in such places have links to shopping, services and schools. Yet tourism is hardly mentioned in any of the usual public transport literature.

In many ways this is really surprising given how visitors and tourists are often substantial users of public transport services. For example, Diem’s research in Munich, which we discuss in the book, suggested that 78.5% of tourists used public transport. In London, the figures are even more impressive, with Transport for London suggesting that 93% of inbound tourists to London use public transport. Of course, in the case of London, the underground and double-decker buses are potentially an attraction in themselves, though this is something shared with many other destinations, for example, ferries in Stockholm, trams in Melbourne and street cars in San Francisco. If you include active transport, you could also now add cycling in Copenhagen or walking the High Line in New York. However, one of the great challenges is that this data is often not collected. Public transport agencies only tend to collect from residents, while many destination management organisations don’t collect data on the type of transport that visitors use, especially once they have actually arrived at a destination.

Nevertheless, a number of cities and destinations are now starting to see great advantage in encouraging visitors to use public transport, as they do permanent residents, in order to reduce traffic congestion. For example, some Swiss cities provide free bus access for hotel guests and for airport transfer. However, there are other benefits as well; tourists get to have a more direct experience with local people and the place they are visiting, which can improve the quality of the destination experience and increase likelihood of return visitation. For many public transport systems though, there is also recognition that tourists are helping to support the maintenance of the system to the benefit of locals. In the case of some ferry services to some of the islands in Finland and Scotland, tourists are clearly important users of the system, especially in summer, and the public transport services are therefore helping to get the tourist to spend out of the main centres in such situations, while also showing tourists more of the country. There are also many benefits for a tourist in not having to drive, as they are able to see more of a destination and not have to contend with unfamiliar road signs and roads.

Given that tourists are not usually seen as a significant market by public transport companies, there clearly remains a number of challenges in encouraging tourists to use public transport in many situations. As we discuss in the book, foremost among these is high quality and up-to-date information that is easily accessible. Ideally this should also be available in languages other than that of the destination and/or be accessible by a translation service. Cost is also significant and this is not just the direct economic cost of using the service but also ease of use, travel times and the extent to which different modes of transport are coordinated so as to make connections easy.

Overall we found that tourist use of public transport at destinations can have many positives, particularly with respect to developing more sustainable cities and contributing generally to reductions in emissions from transport use. However, the real challenge is to try and encourage more tourists to use public transport for longer distance travel. In some cases this is harder for structural and design reasons, i.e. the services just don’t exist or there’s no or insufficient capacity for carrying luggage, but in some parts of the world this is beginning to change. For example, in Europe and China we are seeing the development of new high speed rail routes and in the United States and Australia these possibilities are increasingly being discussed as a focal point of economic development and as a means of reducing both air and car congestion along major routes. In addition, some countries are developing long-distance cycleways as a means of encouraging long-distance active transport.

In terms of the future we are undoubtedly going to continue to see more focus on public transport as a core part of the sustainable mobility mix, and we think public transport, economic development and destination agencies are increasingly recognising that they can work together to encourage and promote tourism. However, as well as ongoing concerns over climate change, congestion and tourist support for public services, we see the other big issue as the growth in autonomous vehicles. This is going to have enormous impacts in the future on employment in the tourist transport sector and visitor experiences, as well as on public transport provision. Uber, for example, has major interests in autonomous cars and that, combined with their disruptive impact on taxi services and public transport, is going to create a whole new set of challenges. And we can imagine that if we are doing a new edition of the book in five years’ time, rather than consider autonomous public transport at the end of the book in the futures section, we will probably have to have a separate chapter allocated to it because it will be happening now!

Tourism and TransportFor more information about this book, please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and Transport by David Timothy Duval.


Our Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series celebrates its 30th book

13 February 2017

Last month we published From Principles to Practice in Education for Intercultural Citizenship edited by Michael Byram, Irina Golubeva, Han Hui and Manuela Wagner, which became the 30th book in our Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series. In this post, series editors Michael Byram and Anthony J. Liddicoat discuss how the series has grown from its inception in 2000.

The first book in the series

The first book in the series

The Language and Intercultural Communication in Education (LICE) series has reached a significant landmark with the publication of its 30th book. The series began as an initiative of Multilingual Matters, Michael Byram and Alison Phipps with the aim of encouraging the study of languages and cultures in ways which can ultimately enrich teaching and learning. The first book that appeared was Developing Intercultural Competence in Practice edited by Michael Byram, Adam Nichols and David Stevens.

Since that first book, LICE has published across a wide range of topics ranging from classroom practice, to study abroad, to intercultural citizenship. Some notable publications that show the breadth of the series are:

Although the focus of the series has been on education, we have also published books with a broader focus that advance thinking in the field more widely, such as Joseph Shaules’ Deep Culture: The Hidden Challenges of Global Living and Maria Manuela Guilherme, Evelyne Glaser and María del Carmen Méndez-García’s The Intercultural Dynamics of Multicultural Working.

We believe that the greatest achievement of the series has been to publish in the same series works that develop new theoretical insights into intercultural issues in language education and those that are very practical and offer ideas for the classroom.

The 30th book in the series

The 30th book in the series

Our 30th book, From Principles to Practice in Education for Intercultural Citizenship edited by Michael Byram, Irina Golubeva, Han Hui and Manuela Wagner, brings together a number of ideas that have been developed through previous books in the LICE series with its focus on intercultural citizenship and its presentation of teachers’ practice in language education in a range of different contexts around the world.

We are shortly about to release our 31st book Teaching Intercultural Competence across the Age Range edited by Michael Byram, Dorie Perugini and Manuela Wagner. This book aims to show teachers that developing intercultural competence is possible within their own power of decision-making and that there are various degrees of curricular change that are available to them. The book shows how a community of practice involving universities, schools and students working with teachers can develop teaching and learning, and includes self-analysis that shows the difficulties as well as the pleasures of changing curricula. This is a book that will speak directly to teachers as they seek to include intercultural competence in their teaching, showing how this is doable by providing a lot of detailed description of courses, and making it possible for others to use the book directly to reshape their own practice.

For more information about this series, please see our website

 


Tourism and Memories of Home

7 February 2017

This month we’re publishing Tourism and Memories of Home edited by Sabine Marschall. In this post, Sabine explains the inspiration behind the book and discusses the phenomenon of tourism in search of memories of home.

Tourism and Memories of HomeA few years ago, I asked my father to record his childhood memories about World War II and the family’s expulsion and flight. As a child, I witnessed my grandparents’ nostalgia; granny would always start crying when she talked about the lost home. Their longing to see the old home one more time remained unfulfilled, but as a young student, I undertook that return visit on their behalf, carefully documenting every move. The journey became one of the most memorable of my life.

Perhaps it is due to aging that I have recently become more interested in family history and reflections on my own past, including my experiences of migration and travel, my memories and sense of home. When I began to explore these issues academically, employing self-reflexivity and auto-ethnography, I was surprised to find how strongly these experiences seemed to resonate with others. Individuals from different countries and various walks of life approached me at conferences and social gatherings to share their story. I began to see patterns and realized the wider significance of these return visits home.

Globally, many people have lost their home or homeland due to warfare, political conflict or disaster; memories of the traumatic loss and the desire to return remain an important part of their identity, often passed on to their children and shaping the historical consciousness of future generations. Those who moved voluntarily visit friends and family back home; their descendants travel in pursuit of family history and search for roots; diasporic communities tour real and imagined ancestral homelands in a quest for identity and a sense of belonging; others stage homecomings and recreate homeland culture in substitute locations. Ultimately, memories of home generate a lot of travel the world over, from short local trips to long international journeys combined with other activities. Most people do not think of such journeys as tourism and many emphatically reject that label. Yet the sustained flow of such travelers has prompted tourism authorities, tour operators and academic scholars to describe, investigate and analyze these mobility patterns as distinct and significant, classifying them as ‘diasporic roots tourism’, ‘ethnic homecoming’, ‘homesick tourism’ (Heimwehtourismus), Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) tourism, ‘personal heritage tourism’, ‘dark tourism’ and a host of related terms.

Foregrounding the role of memory, this book brings together contributors from different countries whose ethnographic case studies explore tourism in search of memories of home in a large spread of geographical and societal contexts past and present.

Tourism and the Power of OthernessTourism and SouvenirsFor more information about the book, please see our website. If you found this post interesting, you might also like Tourism and the Power of Otherness edited by David Picard and Michael A. Di Giovine and Tourism and Souvenirs edited by Jenny Cave, Lee Jolliffe and Tom Baum.

 


Commercial Nationalism and Tourism

2 February 2017

Last month we published Commercial Nationalism and Tourism: Selling the National Story edited by Leanne White. In this post, Leanne gives us an overview of the book.

Commercial Nationalism and TourismCommercial Nationalism and Tourism essentially reveals how particular narratives are woven to tell (and sell) a national story. By deconstructing images of the nation, the book demonstrates how national texts (such as advertising, brochures and websites) help create key archival imagery that can promote tourism and events while also shaping national identity. I’ve been interested in this topic for about 30 years, so it’s great to finally edit this volume. I am really hoping that readers will be both energised and engaged by the diverse international cases that examine commercial nationalism and how this phenomenon connects with either tourism or events.

As editor of this collaborative international body of work, I am thrilled that from the tremendous collegial work of scholars around the globe, we have produced a volume that advances the academic debate surrounding commercial nationalism and tourism. All 26 contributors have combined an applied approach with solid academic and critical analysis. I would like to thank them all, as they made this book possible. They have been wonderful to work with and always highly cooperative.

This book is timely as the highly complex relationship between commerce and the nation has attracted the interest of scholars in recent years. Commercial Nationalism and Tourism aims to demystify the various ways in which the nation is imagined by key organisers and organisations and communicated to billions around the world. While the book is aimed principally at the academic market, it also provides interesting reading to anyone who has been a tourist or attended a major event in an increasingly commercial world!

I would like to thank Channel View and the wider production team involved in seeing this book come to fruition. A special thank you must go to Commissioning Editor, Elinor Robertson, and Production Manager, Sarah Williams.

Tourism and National IdentityIf you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and National Identity by Kalyan Bhandari. 


Heritage Tourism in China

27 January 2017

This month we published Heritage Tourism in China by Hongliang Yan. In this post, the author discusses some of the heritage sites covered in his book and the stories behind them.

Heritage Tourism in ChinaAs one of the world’s earliest civilisations, history has left much heritage for China. It is not merely the representation of the country’s past but also an important resource which supports the development of China’s tourism industry today. Heritage Tourism in China looks at the relationships between heritage and tourism in contemporary China. It uses heritage to examine the social changes of China and how history and heritage were interpreted, planned and promoted for tourist consumption.

Because of the characteristics of Chinese governance, heritage tourism planning and management are largely decided by the public sector. In recent years, with the implementation of “Economic Reform and Open Door” policies, stakeholders from other sectors have increasingly been playing some more important roles in heritage tourism. This book examines the issues from the viewpoints of policymakers and other influential stakeholders at local, regional and national levels who had interests in heritage tourism.

To help the reader to understand the link between heritage and the key issues discussed in the book, four historically important heritage sites were discussed in detail on the issues around their management, planning, interpretation and promotion for tourism, which also provides the key link between the global context of tourism and notions of modernity, identity and sustainability.

Among these sites, the Confucius temple, mansion and family cemetery in Qufu (UNESCO World Heritage Site) were selected for examination as they have embodied the core values of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy: Confucianism. Their preservation, management and also the evolution of the Confucius cult ceremony well reflected the relations between tradition and modernity in contemporary China.

Another example, Mount Tai, China’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site was also examined in the book because of its outstanding combination of beautiful natural landscape and cultural impacts and being regarded as a sacred mountain in China. The preservation and development of the site provide a good example of the governance of protected areas and the challenges to sustainability.

The heritage sites discussed in this book are symbols of Chinese civilisations and beliefs. An important focus of the discussion in this book is on how they are affected by alterations in people’s values and beliefs in China over recent decades. The book develops and applies a broad framework to assess the relationships between the planning, development and representation of heritage sites for tourist consumption and the notions of modernity, identity and sustainable development in contemporary China.

For more information about this book, please see our website. You might also be interested in Tourism in China, Tourism Research in China and Industrial Heritage Tourism.


Paying a visit to our new distributor, NBN International

24 January 2017

Last week we took a day out of the office and made the two hour road trip down to Plymouth to visit our new distributor, NBN International (NBNi). NBNi takes care of the storage and shipping of our books destined for customers in the UK and all over the world (except the Americas, which is handled by their American counterpart, National Book Network). We are in constant contact with the orders and customer services teams and regularly email our contacts, Juliette and Matt, with queries as we settle in to the workings of a new distributor, so I was looking forward to meeting everyone and putting faces to names.

Anna and Flo reaching dizzying heights on the forklift

Anna and Flo reaching dizzying heights on the forklift

The team at NBNi gave us a very warm welcome and while Tommi, Sarah and Laura had a meeting with Juliette and Ian about ASR (Automatic Stock Replenishment), Anna and I were taken on a tour of the warehouse and offices by Matt, our designated contact at NBNi. The tour started by navigating the maze of shelves that house the slower-moving books and then we were taken through to the packing section, where we caught our first glimpse of one of our own titles, The Darker Side of Travel, waiting to be packaged up and sent out. Next, we went through to the bulk store section of the warehouse, filled with boxes of books on shelves that reached 10 metres high. This provided the highlight of the day when Anna and I were allowed to ride one of the forklifts (kindly supervised by its driver) up to the topmost shelves. We were originally blasé when asked if we were afraid of heights, but being 10 metres up felt a lot higher from the air than it looked from the ground!

Anna's spotted our books!

Anna’s spotted our books!

Having set our feet back on firm ground, we made our way back past the packing area, were mesmerised by a plastic wrapping robot described by its operator as ‘poetry in motion’, met the warehouse manager and then went up to the mezzanine level of the warehouse to get a better view of the place. There were bookshelves as far as the eye could see and we spotted somebody dusting the top row, which has to be done every day to ensure the stored books are kept in good, saleable condition. On our way back down, we stumbled across a big chunk of shelving filled with our books, which provided a a perfect opportunity for Anna to have a photo with Principles and Practices of Teaching English as an International Language. We then popped in to see the print on demand service, where some of our books are set up, before it was time to head back upstairs to meet the orders and customer services team, who deal with our requests on a day-to-day basis.

Books as far as the eye can see

Books as far as the eye can see

We all met up again for lunch (there was a lot of jealousy at the news of our forklift ride) and soon it was time to hit the road. There was just enough time to fit in a quick detour to Dawlish to drop in on Sarah’s parents, who greeted us with delicious scones from their local tearooms, before heading back to Bristol.

This trip was a great opportunity to meet our new colleagues at NBNi and get a feel for how everything works there. We’re looking forward to working with them in 2017 and beyond!

Flo


Small Yet International: Our Books Travel the World

14 December 2016

We describe ourselves as a small, international, independent academic publisher. Being small, it may seem like also being international would be very difficult. In fact, for us that’s certainly not the case. As you can read in previous blog posts, our authors come from right around the world. In fact since that post was written in 2011 the list of countries our authors come from has continued to grow and in this year alone we have published books based on research in countries and regions as diverse as the Arctic, Bosnia and China (and could probably make a good stab at completing the rest of the alphabet too!).

We travel a lot and ensure that our books are seen by people all over the world. Our conference and travel schedules are always packed and we make an effort to attend not only big conferences but also smaller, local ones where we can. We do our best to make our books both accessible and affordable to anyone interested in them and this is reflected in our sales figures. We thought it might be interesting to share information about the international reach of our print books with our blog readers.

Last year, our books made it straight from our warehouse to 74 countries of the world, and possibly even more as we cannot trace what happens to books which go through our two biggest UK customers, the wholesalers Gardners and Bertrams. Because of the size of these wholesalers the top 10 countries list is a little skewed as we know that, while the UK is at the top, this is not because our books are being picked up by many readers in Britain but rather, they are being sold on to bookshops around the globe. The same goes for our North American sales, but to a slightly lesser extent. With that in mind, this chart shows the top ten countries, in terms of the number of individual books bought from us over the past 12 months.

Top 10 countries (units sold)

Top 10 countries (units sold)

In part this list reflects the hard work of our reps who promote our titles to their local customers. We have reps working in our bigger markets, such as China and Japan, as well as covering smaller nations such as those of the Caribbean. We meet with our reps at least annually at the Frankfurt Book Fair and make occasional visits to see them in their territories. You can read more about the work of our reps in a post written by Andrew White who represents us in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

For customers for whom a print book is too expensive or difficult to obtain, we ensure that the option of purchasing an ebook is a possibility. All our new titles are published simultaneously as consumer ebooks and always at a much lower price. We have put a big effort into making our back catalogue also available as ebooks and are always happy to take requests if there is something that a reader wants that isn’t yet online – just send us an email and we’ll do our best to arrange it.

Laura


We’re Winners of an Award for Excellence!

21 September 2016
Elinor and Laura celebrating our achievement

Elinor and Laura celebrating our achievement

We are delighted to announce that we have recently been awarded with a BIC Product Data Excellence Award. This is a book publishing industry award that denotes how well we submit information about our books to the book trade. Publishers are scored both on how complete their data is and the timeliness of its delivery to the industry.

While it may not seem like the most exciting of awards, it is actually very important. With good information book buyers find it much easier to discover and order books, which makes their job quicker and results in more book sales and greater reach for our authors’ work. The data required is extensive and ranges from the very obvious, such as title and price, to information such as the exact weight of an individual book.

We have spent many of our spare moments and long afternoons over the past year manually entering the data for very old titles into our database (and even doing things such as weighing books from the archive!), while also ensuring that all new titles meet very tight data deadlines. It has been a long and arduous process, fuelled by lots of tea and biscuits, but we are very happy that 99.93% of our books now have complete records (the missing 0.07% are sadly so old we don’t even have a print copy in our office archive) and we always easily hit the 80% timeliness quota.

There are over 750 publishers in the UK, so to be one of only 29 with an Excellence Award, and to be in the same category as household names such as Penguin is very satisfying (you can see the full list of publishers with awards here). We may only be a small publisher but we are proud to be ranked for data as highly as many big publishers and even better than many others. Needless to say, our ambitions haven’t stopped with Excellence and we’re already in discussions about what we can do to be promoted to the Excellence Plus top category!


Teaching Older Learners: Less Pandering, More Researching

15 September 2016

This month we are publishing Danya Ramírez Gómez’s new book Language Teaching and the Older Adult: The Significance of Experience. In this post, she introduces us to her own experiences with language teaching and the inspiration for the book.

The first time I taught a language to a group of adults over 60 was more than six years ago. And it was a disaster. I had previously taught adults of other ages, and I thought I knew what to expect. However, during the lesson I realized that the material, my approach, and my way of reaching these students were inadequate. They were different and I was unable to engage them as I had envisioned. I tried to understand why; I blamed myself, the material, the weather and, lastly, the students: “Well, they are older”– I told myself. Fortunately, I soon realized that if all my students have a poor learning experience, it can’t be them, it must be me.

I looked for information and materials that could help me teach these learners better and found virtually nothing. It was then that I considered researching this topic and so I asked colleagues who worked with older learners whether they thought this useful. I received all sorts of responses, but most can be summarized by a colleague’s piece of advice. He said: “Talk to them like they were children.” That was the last straw.

Language Teaching and the Older AdultMy book, Language Teaching and the Older Adult: The Significance of Experience, is exploratory and comprehensive. Exploratory, because the literature on the topic is scarce, and comprehensive, because it touches a myriad of pertinent fields and thus provides an informed context in which to start a discussion about older learners. Also, the claims made in this book are based on a multi-method analysis that should appeal to researchers in foreign language learning, and since teachers will probably desire something more practical, the book includes recommendations and checklists that I hope will make lesson planning more manageable.

The experiences described at the start of this post generated one of the most relevant aims of this work: to question our assumptions about language learning in old age. We all hold these assumptions; teachers, learners, researchers, administrators, the laymen. But how can we advance in foreign language geragogy – as I have taken the liberty to call this field – if we are constrained by our beliefs? Questioning our assumptions is the first step to understanding older adults as students of foreign languages and enhancing their learning process.

When they hear what I research, many people ask me whether I like older adults. Well, not particularly. I like them as much as I like anybody else. What drove the creation of this book was more a sense of responsibility to the students – to which many teachers can probably relate – and the dread of facing more lessons without a clear idea of the effects of my decisions as an instructor. Besides that, what motivated me to focus on this issue was the idea that when I am in my silver years, I want to be able to learn French, I want to be unencumbered by excuses, and I would certainly want to be seen by my instructors as the capable adult I hope to be.

For more information about this book, please see our website. You may also be interested in another of our books on the topic Adult Learning in the Language Classroom by Stacey Margarita Johnson.


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