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In addition to striving for excellence in teaching, the ELC at Shantou University is committed to the academic study of teaching and learning English as a foreign language. Our faculty is involved in research in the field both as individuals and on behalf of the ELC as a whole. (A list of faculty publications is available on the Faculty Researchpage.) Research at the ELC is primarily focused on teaching and learning English in the Chinese context. We have responded to the overwhelming interest in and need for development in research in this region in three ways: contributing to the growing body of field studies and projects by conducting our own on the STU campus, establishing a new peer-refereed journal specifically focused on Chinese learners, and hosting and participating in both national and international conferences in which leaders in the field can share their considerations on TEFL in China.

The importance of the ELC’s work in these areas has been recognized both nationally and internationally through sponsorship, endorsements, grants, and awards. Additionally, it has been strengthened by the participation of both national and international leaders in the field, including former TESOL presidents and board members, experts, researchers, and the Chinese Ministry of Education. It is the ELC's belief that in order to remain relevant in the field of English teaching, it is of the highest importance to be connected with the international community of researchers and educators. Ultimately, those connections and the cross-cultural communication that they facilitate benefit our own students, because they contribute to more informed and tailored teaching methods and materials.