BOX 8-3
Directions for Research on English as a
Second Language Instruction

•  Experiments to identify effective instructional practices for different groups of language learners (with varying first languages, knowledge of English, first language literacy skills, educational backgrounds, and reasons for attending instruction) to help instructors differentiate instruction.

•  Studies to specify the length, type, and intensity of instruction that is the most effective for different language learner groups.

•  Systematic and longitudinal analyses of language teaching practices (integrating language structures with language use and meaningful content) and documentation of outcomes for adult language learners.

•  Comprehensive description and analysis of the components of effective programs at multiple levels (instructional content, teaching practices, student interactions, and so on) using quantitative and qualitative methods that link components to outcomes.

•  Background variables that have an impact on outcomes and that are important to assess at program entry and for differentiated instruction.

•  Characteristics of learners and aspects of language exposure (both inside and outside the classroom) that predict learning and a range of other desired outcomes that include persistence, continuation with further education, finding employment, and lifelong learning.

•  The relation between first language skills and the development of spoken and written English skills and identification of opportunities for transferring skills and strategies.

•  Ways to provide effective multimodal language instruction (speaking, reading, writing, visual presentations) and technology.

•  Ways to integrate classroom instruction with informal learning opportunities provided by interactions in communities and through the use of technology.

•  The most effective ways to integrate language and literacy development with content instruction.

•  Development and evaluation of “integrated instruction” models that combine language and literacy education with academic and career education.

•  Assessments that (a) provide enough information about language and literacy skills and progress to be useful for planning instruction and providing feedback to learners, (b) are valid measures of practically important language and literacy competencies, and (c) measure affective, cultural, and psychological factors that affect learning.

•  Teacher knowledge and professional development to effectively administer and use assessments and flexibly adapt the curriculum to meet learners’ needs.

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