The learners’ voices
What kind of study has been carried out as regards the learners’ needs and requirements?
Besides identifying English language teachers’ professional development needs, the multi-level mixed methods exploratory study conducted in the framework of ENRICH involved English language learners as well. Quantitative research methodology has been adopted to identify adolescent learners’ views and practices as regards English while qualitative focus groups have taken place to explore the views and practices of younger learners. 505 learners aged 14 to 17 and 80 learners aged 11-13 attending multilingual classrooms in Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Turkey participated in the ENRICH study.
What do the learners say about the way they use English outside the classroom?
The vast majority of the learners, including young ones aged 11 to 13, report that they are exposed to and employ English in their personal lives to a surprisingly large extent. They use it, for example, while playing interactive games online (most frequently with other non-native users), using social media, communicating with friends, watching and/or producing YouTube videos, watching films and so forth. In fact, the vast majority also claim that they learn more English outside school than in class.
How do the learners view English teaching and learning inside the classroom?
In general, the learners, including young ones, recognize the significance of school in terms of learning English and do value the education they are provided with. However, most of them report that they would like their teacher to use authentic materials more frequently (such as videos illustrating communication between non-native speakers) as well as more interactive activities (such as activities engaging them in communication with each other) which would enhance their motivation levels.
Are there any differences between the views and practices of learners with migrant and non-migrant backgrounds?
No significant differences have been identified between the views and practices of learners who did not have a migrant background and the views and practices of the learners who did have a migrant background (such as first- or second-generation immigrants and refugees). In the case of refugee learners who could not yet communicate in the language of schooling (for instance, Greek, if located in Greece), English, as they report, also plays a significant role in communicating with locals, including their teacher and classmates. This way, English serves for them as a ‘bridge’ to host communities, as well.
* Pseudonyms have been employed to protect the respondents’ personal information.