The inaugural issue of this column aired in February 1997 as The Region reporting on language teaching in 21 countries in Asia and the Pacific (McMurray, 1997). Contributors wrote benchmark studies on English teaching in Hong Kong the year it was returned to China (Lundelius, 1997) and when English was first introduced in elementary schools in Taiwan, Korea, and Thailand. Interviews were conducted with teachers based in Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Australia. The column was retitled Outreach in June 2009—an altruistic name that attracted reports on philanthropic projects in Bangladesh, volunteers in Vietnam, writing centers in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and India, call centers in the Philippines, high schools in Shanghai, global varieties of English, haiku, drama, and music.
In April 2013 Outreach merged with Grassroots—a column about local chapter and SIG activities that had been lovingly edited by Joyce Cunningham, Mariko Miyao, and Carol Begg—to create Grassroots Outreach. The synergy of comparing international and domestic issues produced a vibrant series of articles on both sides of a debate informing readers about the risks of submitting articles to unscrupulous international journals (Brown & Cook, 2013) as well as conference reviews allowing readers to contrast the way CLIL, EAP, CALL, CLT, and Task-Based Learning are taught in Japan and overseas. Recent reports in this column have included foreign language related activities undertaken by Asian scholars, graduate students, past JALT presidents, an ambassador, and a minister of education.
Brown, H., & Cook, M. (2013). Unscrupulous journal solicitations: What they are, what they do, and how you can protect yourself. The Language Teacher, 37(3), 48-50.
McMurray, D. (1997). Defining the Region. The Language Teacher 21(2), 34-36.
Lundelius, J.O. (1997). EFL teaching at Hong Kong’s universities. The Language Teacher, 21(7), 29-33.
Rouault, G. (2014). Reflections from Cambodia. The Language Teacher, 38(5), 63-65.