Non-native English students learning in English: Reviewing and reflecting on the research


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Dept of English and Applied Linguistics

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source Title

Global Perspectives, Local Initiatives: Reflections and Practices in ELT

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As more countries adopt English as the language of learning in schools, more non-native speakers of English are learning English so that they can learn in English. In this paper, we review studies (mostly involving Filipino-English bilinguals) that look into the experiences of bilingual learners as they undertake learning activities in English, which is a second or a foreign language for them. Studies that investigate these experiences using a psycholinguistic approach point to (a) different effects of using the bilingual learner’s first and second language on different specific cognitive processes in various learning tasks, and (b)particular cognitive resources of the bilingual learner that can facilitate learning. Complementing these psycholinguistic studies, investigations that use sociolinguistic approaches reveal a range of important personal and social processes and factors that suggest a sense of agency on the part of the bilingual learner as the learner engages learning tasks amidst varying requirements of the social environments of learning. The insights drawn from the various studies reviewed are discussed in terms of how bilingual learners strategically use their multilingual resources to attain their learning goals. The paper ends with recommendations to study the experiences of bilingual learners’ experiences learning in English and with some reflections for ESL and EFL teachers, and other teachers of bilingual learners.



English Language and Literature


Bilingualism; English language—Study and teaching—Foreign speakers; Psycholinguistics

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