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Exploring Learner Language

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Exploring Learner Language

A workbook and DVD pack that shows teachers how to analyse the language their ESL students use in the classroom.

Format: Mixed media format

A 'hands-on' introduction to studying ESL learners' language for language teachers, TESOL masters and diploma students.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-442291-8

Have you ever been puzzled by a language structure you hear a student use or wondered why an often-used activity fails to work with some students?

Studying your students' language can help you answer questions like these. The DVD has examples of real students working in class and the workbook shows you how to analyse their language and then apply those techniques to your own classroom.

This pack includes:

  • Teacher's Resource Book
  • DVD

Key features

  • Gives you a unique 'hands-on' introduction to studying ESL learners' language using video interviews and footage of students doing language tasks
  • Uses linked exercises in the book to guide you through the stages of analysing learners' language
  • Provides full transcripts and an answer discussion section to help you to study and refer back to the input and explanations.
  • Case study approach gives you the skills that will help you to explore learner language in your own classroom
  • Recommended for TESOL Masters and Diploma students and language teacher educators


Exploring Learner Language shows you how to analyse the language that students use in class. It helps you understand the challenges your students face and enables you to set what you have observed in a broader context of Second Language Acquisition theory.

- If you are a trainee or practising teacher, it gives you the sort of hands-on language analysis skills that you cannot get from a purely theoretical course in Second Language Acquisition.

- If you are a teacher trainer, using this book and DVD will give your Second Language Acquisition course a practical edge that your trainees will be able to apply to their own teaching practice.

The DVD shows a group of six adult ESL learners with different first languages doing a range of individual and pairwork speaking tasks. Each chapter of the book then gives you a range of linked exercises in which you describe the learners' characteristics and analyse the language they use to complete the specific tasks. There are also full transcripts and an answer discussion section for reference.

As well as this detailed specific analysis of the tasks shown on the DVD, each chapter gives more general information about how to analyse learners and learner language. You can apply this information both to analyse your own students and to gain a broader understanding of the process of Second Language Acquisition. The authors give you access to these more in-depth explanations by providing:

- Explanations of specific Second Language Acquisition theories that help explain the learner behaviour and language that you can observe in the DVD

- References to related books and articles throughout each chapter

- Further Reading sections at the end of each chapter.

The book is organized into eight chapters:

1. Second Language Learners
2. Second Language Acquisition Research
3. Exploring Errors and Interlanguage
4. Exploring Developmental Sequences
5. Learning in Interaction
6. Exploring Reference
7. Exploring Complexity in Language
8. Exploring Learner Language in the Classroom

The book also contains an answer discussion section (for use with classes of teacher trainees or by individual readers for self-study), transcripts and written narratives, photocopiable resources, a glossary of all technical terms used in the book.

There are suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter as well as a complete bibliography at the end of the book.


  • '...Exploring Learner Language has great potential for making an impact on what we know about foreign/second language teaching and learning. With this manual in hand, teachers are well equipped to better understand their students' processes of language learning and to generate knowledge that is helpful both locally in their classrooms and to the field of second language learning in general.'
    - Jason Martel, Language Magazine


The DVD features:

- Footage of language tasks performed by six adult ESL learners and two native speakers of English
- Video interviews with six ESL learners
- PDF transcripts of the video material

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