~ TLW ~ Topics for Discussion ~ Page One

~ Topic Discussion ~ 101 ~ English Learning and Learners ~

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101Set ~ 1 ~

1) Why do you study English? Do you need a reason? What do you enjoy/not enjoy about it?

2) How do you best learn English? How do you like to study English? Are they the same?

3) What experiences do you remember from your English learning from the past (both good and bad)?

4) How do you study on your own? Do you prefer to study on your own or with others? Explain.

5) In which ways can non-native speakers be motivated to study English in their own countries?


101Set ~ 2

1) What are the social differences/similarities between your country and other English-speaking countries?

2) Do you know anyone who has studied/is studying abroad? If so, describe their experience. How about you?

3) Would you like to study abroad (again)? Where? Why? What can people learn by studying abroad?

4) Are there annoyances about the English language and/or English-speaking people that deter your learning?

5) Are there attractive or interesting qualities about English that motivate you to study?

Rubin and Thompson¡¯s Characteristics of a Good Learner


1. Good learners find their own way


2. Good learners organize information about language


3. Good learners are creative and experiment with language


4. Good learners make their own opportunities, and find strategies for getting

practice in using the language inside and outside the classroom


5. Good learners learn to live with uncertainty and develop strategies for making

sense of the target language without wanting to understand every word


6. Good learners use mnemonics (rhymes, word associations, etc. to recall what has

been learned)


7. Good learners make errors work


8. Good learners use linguistic knowledge, including knowledge of their first

language in mastering a second language


9. Good learners let the context (extra-linguistic knowledge and knowledge of the

world) help them in comprehension


10. Good learners learn to make intelligent guesses


11. Good learners learn chunks of language as wholes and formalized routines to help

them perform ¡®beyond their competence¡¯


12. Good learners learn production techniques (e.g. techniques for keeping a

conversation going)


13. Good learners learn different styles of speech and writing and learn to vary their

language according to the formality of the situation


Nunan, David (2000) Language Teaching Methodology, Harlow, Pearson Education Ltd. Page 171






101Set ~ 3

1) How do you feel about this list? Is it helpful?

2) Do you agree/disagree with any elements or ideas?

3) Which ideas appeal to you most? Explain.

4) Which don¡¯t seem plausible, or even possible? Explain.

5) Can you add anything to the list? Access your own learning activity and experience.



Adapted from Wikipedia


English outside English-speaking countries


EFL, English as a foreign language, indicates the teaching of English in a non-English-speaking region. Study can occur either in the student's home country, as part of the normal school curriculum in an English-speaking country that they visit as a sort of educational tourist. TEFL is the teaching of English as a foreign language. Note that this sort of instruction can take place in any country, English-speaking or not. Typically, EFL is learned either to pass exams as a necessary part of one's education, or for career progression.


English within English-speaking countries


The other broad grouping is the use of English within the English-speaking countries. In the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand this use of English is called ESL (English as a second language). TESL is the teaching of English as a second language.


The difficulties that learners face in the study of English can be due to the degree to which their native language differs from English (a contrastive analysis approach). A native speaker of Chinese, for example, may face many more difficulties than a native speaker of German, because German is more closely related to English than Chinese is. This may be true for anyone of any mother tongue, also called first language or ¡°L1¡±. The language you wish to learn is called a target language, a second language, or an ¡°L2¡±.

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Kindle Reader

101Set ~ 4

1) Have you ever taken an English standardized test? Tell your experience. Tell about your results/impressions.

2) Why do English students need to take standardized tests? Are standardized tests fair/accurate? Discuss.

3) What are some alternatives to tests? If we do away with tests, can students still be motivated to learn? Explain.

4) What are some similarities and differences between studying in your own country and studying abroad?


~ Follow up ~ Try to make some of your own questions regarding English learning and learners.

~ Discuss with a teacher, in pairs, or in groups ~ Then share your results in a classroom discussion ~

1) To begin with, in groups or in pairs, select the questions you¡¯d like to talk about. 

2) Then, in pairs or in groups, ask questions and share ideas in your conversations .

3) Finally, share your ideas (as a whole) in a classroom discussion (with all pairs/groups).


For specifics, see TLW Classroom Lesson Procedures: Click here     Click to print QUESTIONS/QUESTIONS

Adapted from Wikipedia


Any test in which the same test is given in the same manner to all test takers is a standardized test. Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are scored in a predetermined, standard manner.


The opposite of a standardized test is a non-standardized test. Non-standardized testing gives significantly different tests to different test takers, or gives the same test under significantly different conditions. For example, one group is permitted far less time to complete the test than the next group.


Such tests are widely used in placing students in a competitive field (such as entrance to universities). See SAT.

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