Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Acquiring English as a Foreign Language

I presented my master’s thesis at the MIDTESOL 2015 conference in October. The foci of my presentation were on Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories, curriculum design, and instructional strategies for teaching adult English learners.

SLA theories provide insights into how adult English learners acquire a new language. The foremost goal of any ELL course curriculum and instructional strategies is to assist English learners in acquiring the ability to communicate in English. Therefore, the available SLA theories should be examined when exploring second language development and learning outcomes of adult English learners. Here are some of the insights that I keep in mind when I teach my ELL students:

  • Collaborative learning encourages learners to use prior knowledge and experiences to construct new knowledge 
  • Adult learners accumulated a growing reservoir of experience which is rich in resources for the purpose of learning 
  • They acquire the grammatical features naturally, when learners are engaged in a meaningful use of the language
  • Comprehensible input is important for second language acquisition


  • Modified instruction should include elaboration, slower speech, gesture and provision of contextual clues 
  • Language competence acquisition occurs when second language learners acquire language one step beyond the level language that has been acquired by the learners.

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