We are proud to present our readers with this special issue, Working Memory and Second Language Acquisition: Innovation in Theory and Research, guest edited by Edward Zhisheng Wen from Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Mailce Borges Mota (Fortkamp) from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, and Arthur McNeill, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
This special issue is AJELT's third one, the first being Learning and Teaching in the Chinese Context, published in 2002 by guest editor Peter Gu, and the second Task-based Language Teaching in Asia: Innovation in Research and Practice, guest edited by Jonathan Newton and Rebecca Adams. Those special issues presented cutting-edge insights and are considered landmark volumes, focusing on applied linguistics and ELT concerns specific to Asian English language research, theory, teaching, and learning. This current issue on working memory (WM) and SLA continues to be ground-breaking, making an important contribution to knowledge in the profession and expanding our knowledge in applied linguistics.
In part, the inspiration for this special issue has sprung from an intellectually stimulating interdisciplinary gathering of researchers and practitioners at the "Language Learning Roundtable on Memory and SLA," held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in summer 2012. As guest editors Wen, Mota, and McNeill note in their introduction to Volume 23:
Overall, the SLA field awaits further studies to probe into WM effects in more specific areas of SLA so that we can gain greater understanding of how WM is implicated in L2 learning as a whole.... In line with the theme of this current issue, all the papers are making concerted efforts to further advance WM-SLA theory and research practice by contributing to a better understanding of WM effects on specific L2 domains and areas such as reading comprehension, speech production and performance, and written performance.(pp. 10-11)
Our readers will hopefully find this collection engaging and thought-provoking, sharing our view that the guest editors have fulfilled their aim: to provide innovative research on WM-SLA that will shed light on implications for L2 pedagogy and classroom practice. [End Page ix]
At this time, we would like to acknowledge the expert contributions of Prof. John H. Powers and editorial assistant Sally Jianping Xie. As always, our heartfelt thanks go to our editorial board and manuscript reviewers whose enthusiastic support enriches applied English linguistics scholarship that is specifically Asian-related and thus makes this journal possible. [End Page x]