Language learning, or more specifically, foreign language learning (FLL) covers a range of methodologies, skills, age groups and other aspects. It can be considered both an element in general education and for a specific purpose. While Teflpedia as a wiki refers to the EFL branch, this article serves as an overview from which readers can follow the links to more specific EFL/TEFL/ESL/ESOL articles.
Likewise, just as some aspects of learning the mother tongue (L1) may coincide with those of learning a foreign or second language, Teflpedia is well aware that the vast majority of English teachers around the world are not actually native speakers of English.
Reasons for learning a foreign language
There are multiple reasons for wanting, or needing to, learn a foreign language. These include using it for specific purposes, or for academic purposes, or for professional reasons, possibly having to speak in public or negotiating, or want to use English more for their own interests, leisure activities, and so on.
Aspects of language learning
Depending on their reasons for wanting to learn, or improve, their language skills, students might wish to concentrate more on accuracy, for example, grammar and pronunciation, as opposed to those students who may prefer to aim for fluency.
Likewise, taking an active role in their own learning process, rather than "merely" studying what a teacher presents formally, is a key aspect in improving one's language skills. As well as their class notes, students should be encouraged to do a needs analysis and to review it periodically.
Beyond the more traditional approaches to language learning, based more on rote learning and drills, with the development of a more communicative approach to language teaching and learning, and from there to a more "holistic" approach, aspects that might need to be taken into consideration for effective learning to take place include possible impediments to learning brought about by negative emotional states - such as embarrassment or self consciousness, as hypothesised by Stephen Krashen's Affective Filter hypothesis, part of his theory of second language acquisition.
Likewise, more attention is now paid to aspects such as study techniques, the learning process and individual students' learning styles. Factors such as the principles of adult learning will also be taken into consideration when preparing study material and exercises. Students will very likely have only their own past personal experience, often negative, to go on when trying to study something, and teachers now have access to all kinds of methods and techniques to help students overcome many of the obstacles they would normally come across.
-  European Commission
- Affective filter
- Debate:Accuracy versus fluency
- First language effect on second language learning
- Linguistic competence
- Target language