The effectiveness of L2 instruction for low-literate, loweducated adult learners

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Dutch language
    • Language acquisition
  • Social sciences
    • Language didactics
LESLLA learners (instructed) second language acquisition second language teaching Educational effectiveness
Project description

Adult learners of a second language (L2) who have had little or no schooling in their first language do not seem to benefit as much from
L2 instruction as higher educated L2 learners. Yet, we do not know in what ways L2 instruction can enhance the development of L2 skills in
low print literate, low-educated L2 (LESLLA) learners. To date, there is very little research available on the effectiveness of instructed
second language acquisition in this group of learners. The proportion of LESLLA learners is not small: around 40% of the immigrants in
Belgium and other Western countries is low-literate and low educated. This research project examines whether and how LESLLA learners
benefit from L2 instruction by pursuing two primary goals:

1) determine to what extent learners with differing literacy and educational backgrounds gain from L2 instruction;
2) identify what teacher practices work best in L2 instruction to adult L2 learners, and LESLLA learners in particular;

By gathering large-scale semi-longitudinal data, performing a teacher effectiveness study, and conducting an experimental study in a
research population that has long been neglected in L2 research, this study will provide a rich picture on the effectiveness of current-day
adult L2 instruction. This way, this study may yield far-reaching implications for both L2 research and instruction.