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Home English for Speakers of Other Languages FE General How can we encourage independent learning among ESOL learners?

How can we encourage independent learning among ESOL learners?

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Research Taster
FE General – ESOL 1

Independent evidence
Encouraging learner independence gives teachers more time to get to know their learners, adapt their teaching to their learners’ needs and manage classroom activities. An effective teaching strategy for ESOL is ‘Extending’, where tutors build on or add to material they have introduced previously, or add to a comment made by a learner i.

Your evidence and reflections
It might be valuable to use some of your review/development time to reflect with colleagues on how much ‘Extending’ takes place within your existing provision.  You could use lesson plans and/or handouts for three consecutive lessons for a particular group to plot the recurrent language items (vocabulary, idioms, aspects of grammar etc) that students would have experienced.
•  What are the recurring language items?
•  What were the opportunities for students to be exposed and actively use this language (speaking, listening, reading, writing)?
•  What were the sequences of activities that enabled students to encounter language items again and again?
•  Are there important language items which came up incidentally that could have done more to help students become more familiar with?

Discuss with colleagues what more you could have done to make the lessons more coherent and increase opportunities for students to revisit important language items.

Putting the evidence to work
You can use your reflections on your teaching to date to plan for future lessons. Identify the aspects of language that will be the focus of your coming 3-4 lessons – these might include some of those you identified as important in your review.  Consider with the help of colleagues and/or resource books the types of activities you could arrange that ensure the language is introduced in context and embedded.

i Find out more about effective teaching and learning in ESOL with a particular focus on ICT at:

This study investigated effective teaching and learning in ESOL:

For special report on ESOL learners with learning difficulties click here:
The Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) Further Education Commentary is available at:

Last Updated ( Friday, 14 November 2008 10:06 )