Individual differences

Authored by: Peter D. MacIntyre , Tammy Gregersen , Richard Clément

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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Every person is unique; it is not possible to find two identical language learners. For teachers, differences among individuals can be difficult to deal with because they make it virtually impossible to predict exactly what will happen during the language learning process or to specify in advance exactly what its outcomes will be. Teaching techniques, cultural exchange programmes and contact with other speakers of the target language (TL) can produce both successes and failures in the same cohort of students. Additionally, the actions and reactions of any specific individual will also change over time and are potentially influenced by a wide range of factors.

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