Experiences in second-language instruction with young language learners, high school students, and college students suggest several principles that may also be effective with adult language learners, though more study of them is needed:

• Differentiate instruction for adults who vary in English language and literacy skills, first language proficiency, educational background, and familiarity with U.S. culture.

• Integrate grammatical instruction with the use of language to communicate for specific purposes, with the amount of emphasis on each depending on the assessed needs of the learner.

• Develop vocabulary and content knowledge to foster reading comprehension and learning.

• Provide opportunities to practice understanding and using language in varied contexts, including outside the classroom.

• Provide materials and tasks that are relevant to learners’ real-world activities.

• Provide frequent and explicit feedback.

• Match instruction to the learner’s existing level of knowledge and skill.

• Leverage knowledge of the learner’s first language to develop skill in English.

• Offer writing instruction in both traditional and digital media.

• Provide instruction in many modes, including speaking, reading, writing, and visual presentations.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement