Kimberley Brown

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language

Physical Description

1 online resource (2, x, 150 p.)


English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, Teachers -- Diaries -- Authorship




Virtually all future teachers _of ESL/EFL have been foreign- or second-language learners themselves. However, reflection on their own past language-learning experiences is usually not integrated into the coursework of professional TESOL preparation programs and there has been little published research in TESOL in which students in professional TESOL preparation programs reflect on their past language learning experiences. The purpose of this research was to explore the effects on TESOL Methods students of revisiting a past language-learning experience. The subjects were students in a TESOL Methods class. This study examined an assignment given to these students to write a short "language learning narrative" (LLN) describing a past language learning experience. The data base of this qualitative study included included thirty-one LLNs, thirty-one free-writes and eleven interviews with these TESOL students. The results indicate that the students' memories of affective factors such as nervousness about speaking in class and feeling successful or unsuccessful as language learners were prominent in their minds, as was a strong focus on the teacher. The benefits to the TESOL students of writing the LLNs included increased sensitivity to the perspective of the learner, willingness to engage in reflection, and an understanding of the connections between their past experiences and the kinds of experiences they wanted to create in future language classrooms. While the TESOL students seemed to have mastered the latter skill, they did not see their past language learning experiences as a resource that could give them insights into particular teaching dilemmas. Also, they tended to make direct generalizations based on their own past reactions as language learners to what they imagined their future students' reactions would be. They wanted to recreate for their future students experiences that had been positive for them and do the opposite of what the teachers of language classes they had experienced as negative had done. The study concludes that the LLN assignment is recommended for use in other professional TESOL training programs, with modifications that would encourage the students to become aware of variations in learner preferences and to view their past language learning experiences as a continuing resource.


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