The paper begins by acknowledging the complexity of the challenges that the introduction of the new international curriculum standards has brought with it. It also acknowledges the role that these policies have played in opening a space for pedagogic research and innovation in teaching programs. The paper argues that while policies are necessary to support change, transformation of practice is an evolutionary process, necessitating critical engagement with the vision that informs new policies, often requiring academics to confront the discourses which support their current practices and analyse the tensions that this process of confrontation may reveal. In relation to English language teacher education, one tension that this study brought into focus is the problem of research innovation. The issue is important since there is research to indicate that stagnation begins early, as a consequence of research training and examination practices. The paper develops a strategy for addressing the problem of research innovation, especially at the level of undergraduate education, and argues that fostering innovation can be as easy as enabling students to explore problems, rather than looking for textbook-based solutions that encourage intellectual compliance.