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TEFL Questionnaire – how adult students learn English as a foreign language

Completed anonymously by x2 Polish and x1 Lithuanian adult students August 2019.


1. What is the most effective way you learn English as a foreign language?

  • Conversations in English and to study grammar separately.
  • Private lessons with a Native English teacher (speaking and doing exercises).
  • Watching TV and reading in English (using new phrases which helps improve my academic writing).


2. Do you study grammar step-by-step or prefer English conversation?

  • I study grammar in school, but, I prefer English conversation with friends when we speak in both Polish/ English.
  • It depends, if I have a test at school then grammar is important. But, I prefer conversations in English. Without my knowledge of grammar I wouldn’t be able to understand anything.
  • I never studied grammar correctly, therefore, writing University thesis was challenging.


3. What effect does listening to music have on learning English as a foreign language?

  • When I translate lyrics in songs it enriches my vocabulary.
  • Learning children’s songs in school when I was young had a lasting effect on me. However, nowadays it doesn’t because I focus on melody, not lyrics.
  • For me it doesn’t work.


4. How does watching TV series and films in English with English subtitles help you acquire language skills?

  • Watching films with English subtitles for some is very helpful in learning a foreign language, however, for me its quite difficult.
  • Its very helpful! I watch many series in English with English subtitles and have an English dictionary by my side. I learnt a lot of new words this way and continue to improve sentence structure.
  • Subtitles force you to read, so its helpful.


5. Imagine you are presented with a once in a life time opportunity to have fame and fortune or make your dreams come true provided that you can speak English. How do you think you could learn the language quickly?

  • In this case I would learn new words (a lot of vocabulary and then grammar rules).
  • I would go abroad for a few weeks or to a language camp where I would have full contact with English 24/7.
  • Being in an environment where you can only speak and get by using English.

6. Have you ever used any unusual methods of learning English as a foreign language? (Such as sticking notes around the house or labelling everything from the toaster to a straw)

  • I always try to emphasise and write down important phrases and texts in English.
  • No, I learn everything the normal way (in school).
  • No.


7. How many hours a day do you dedicate to learning English as a foreign language?

  • About 2 hours a week (not enough).
  • It depends, if I have a test in a week then I would devote 5 hours a day. Generally I don’t learn; I watch TV series or read in English.
  • Dating a Native English speaker.


8. Do you know anything about British culture, customs, idioms or what it’s like to immerse yourself in an English speaking environment?

  • I often buy British newspapers such as The Guardian which has interesting topics connected to Culture.
  • I know some information about British culture and I do my best to study more.
  • Yes, more or less… I have many friends from the UK.


9. What is the worst thing about learning English as a foreign language?

  • Not having the opportunity to know if it is correct in practical usage.
  • Grammar! Abbreviations and English tests.
  • Articles and pronunciation.


10. How do you use technology to learn English as a foreign language?

  • I often use applications for learning English because my phone is always by my side.
  • Using social media and reading stories in English.
  • I don’t use technology to improve my English.
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