The world today is affected by the Covid-19 crisis, and there isn’t a single person, including researchers, teachers and students, whose dayto-day is not impacted by this pandemic. However, the teaching-learning process hasn’t halted and online classes, with all their communication and technological advantages/disadvantages, are taking place. Apart from homework, “work from home” has entered the vocabulary and lives of school/college students and teachers, and the situation has necessitated an overnight change of teaching methodology. This mode of teaching will probably bring in new theory, jargon, research paradigms and pedagogical practices in the field of teaching. In the midst of this global medical, social and economic crisis, and coping with technological integration in teaching, we place before you Fortell Issue No. 41 with special focus on “Teacher Research as a Tool for Professional Development”. 

Recent research across the world has emphasized the role and importance of providing teachers with participant-driven opportunities, and has underlined teacher research as an effective tool for professional development across all levels of teaching. This edition of Fortell includes a wide spectrum of papers, including those that deal with teacher research, to those that engage with close analysis of literary texts. K. Padmini Shankar’s paper “Learner Feedback as a Tool for Teacher Learning and Continuing Professional Development” is based on a 60-hour course, The Second Language Classroom. It documents how learner feedback can function as an effective tool for teacher learning and subsequent continuing professional development. Tanya Gulati in “Impact of Carrying Out a Mentor-guided Classroom Research on How Teachers Understand and Solve Their Classroom Problems” presents a study undertaken by teachers in their school classrooms to reflect upon their teaching methodology and teaching materials. 

Karthika V.K. in “You Can Be a Better Teacher: The Role of Learner Feedback in Fostering CPD Practices” presents the case of a teacher who redesigned her teaching based on reflective practices following feedback from students. Lillian Isperdon’s article, “Developing Reading and Writing Skills in Videoconferencing-based EFL Courses” reports and analyses the impact of a VC-based EFL course taught at the American University of Armenia for adults. The context changes from American University to a rural classroom in “Effectiveness of Language Games as a Vocabulary Teaching Strategy in a Rural ESL Classroom” by Sujay Kumar and Smriti Singh. They investigate the effectiveness of language games in enrichment and retention of vocabulary within the action research framework. 

Nidhi Verma in “The Question of Self, The Question of Life: Identity in the Autobiographical Narratives of Domestic Workers” argues that the autobiographical form becomes a route to empowerment and selfrealization. Tarini Pandey’s article, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Examination of the Adult in Young Adult Literature” traces the growth of children and young adult literature; and argues that this necessitates a change in methodology to enable a participative teachinglearning process. Anjani Malik in “Decoding the Gender Complexities of Young Adult Literature” emphasizes the need for engaging and grappling with complexities of issues that concern adolescents. 

Rosy Yumnum’s article, “Using Hijan Hirao to Develop the English Language Skills and to Understand Culture” examines the use of a long narrative Manipuri poem to teach English language skills of listening and writing. In “Library: An Interactive and Engaging Learning Space”, Anita Vaidyanathan redefines the role of libraries as creative and interactive spaces through various library-led programmes and activities. 

Richard Smith, one of the leading names in the field of teacher research, in conversation with Santosh Mahapatra tries to demystify the field. According to him, “teacher-research is research which is carried out— and usually initiated voluntarily—by teachers themselves, into issues of importance to them in their own work, for their own benefit and that of their students—in other words, research which is by teachers for teachers (and their students)”. Discussing the different kinds of teacher-research —Action Research, Exploratory Practice, and for EAR (Exploratory Action Research), he underlines the role of mentors who can facilitate teacher-research.  

Apart from the articles covering a broad spectrum of themes and an engaging interview, the issue also includes interesting language games, and book reviews ranging from science fiction to teacher research to translation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it all together.

Stay home, stay safe.

Rachna Sethi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Rajdhani College, University of Delhi. Her research interests are postcolonial literature, urban studies, gender studies, oral cultures and ELT.
Santosh Mahapatra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus. His research interests are ESL teacher development in classroom assessment and technology integration, and critical analysis of policies and practices related to English language education.