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6 Must-Read Research Findings about TEFL

6 research findings about TEFL

Learning a foreign language presents complex cognitive, linguistic, and sociocultural challenges. Teaching English as a foreign language involves additional considerations, as students may have limited exposure to or familiarity with English outside of the classroom environment.

Over the past decades, applied linguists and language acquisition researchers have conducted extensive studies on factors that influence effective foreign language instruction. Several scientifically validated insights have emerged that English language teachers should take into account to support their students’ development.

Key Findings Demonstrate The Importance Of:

  • Proper curriculum sequencing.
  • Needs-based feedback strategies.
  • Creating motivation through relevant cultural content.
  • Leveraging individual differences.

Before adopting teaching methods, materials, or activities for our English learners, we should examine the empirical evidence underlying successful acquisition.

The following research-driven guidelines promise to enrich both the learning process and ultimate attainment for students venturing into a new linguistic world.

Keeping these realistic perspectives in the foreground can prevent disillusionment for teachers and learners alike on this profoundly meaningful yet challenging journey.

Here are the six research findings about TEFL that you must read and make the best use of to improve your performance in EFL classes.

1. Adults And Adolescents Learn A Foreign Language Differently From Younger Learners

This is due to cognitive development factors. Older learners may rely more on explicit grammar instruction and translation, whereas children benefit more from implicit learning through meaningful interaction and communication.

2. Regular Exposure To The Foreign Language Plays An Important Role In Language Acquisition

Regular exposure to the target language can be through conversation, media consumption, or reading. More exposure leads to greater gains in proficiency over time.

3. Error Correction And Direct Grammar Instruction Need To Be Used Judiciously

Too much explicit correction can impede fluency and risk-taking with a foreign language, but some focused feedback is also necessary.

4. Learners’ Motivation And Attitudes Impact Achievement Significantly

Students who have positive views towards the foreign language, its speakers, and its culture tend to be more successful. Creating an encouraging classroom climate aids motivation. 

5. Language Skills Reinforce Each Other

Developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities in tandem allows learners to acquire the foreign language holistically and progress more rapidly. Focusing on just one or two skills leads to imbalanced proficiency.

6. Individual Differences Affect The Rate And Eventual Success Of Language Learning.

Factors like language aptitude, learning styles and strategies, personality, age, and linguistic background need to be considered by teachers.

Key Takeaways

Foreign language acquisition is a complex process requiring educators to make evidence-based decisions on instructional methods.

While no definitive formula for teaching languages exists, research suggests the importance of considering the following points:

  • Cognitive factors impact adults and adolescents differently.
  • Ensuring regular and meaningful input.
  • Applying error correction judiciously.
  • Maximizing student motivation.
  • Promoting skill integration.
  • Individualizing instruction when feasible.

Foreign language teaching will continue to yield new insights. However, by thoughtfully applying the previous guidelines to their teaching, English language teachers can feel empowered.

Our roles are critical in broadening communication abilities across linguistic and cultural divides. Grounded in sensitivity to learner needs and scientific truths, patience and perseverance in adapting techniques to each unique classroom context will bring rich rewards.

Most importantly, maintaining an attitude of empathy coupled with realistic expectations will serve both students and teachers in this journey of intercultural discovery through English language education.

In Conclusion

I’d like to encourage teachers to continue professional development by:

  • Adapting strategies based on research principles and individual circumstances.
  • Stressing realistic expectations along with empathy.

Thanks for reading

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