Global practices in teaching English to young learners: Ten years on

This report presents a comparative analysis of data collected in 2010 and 2020 on the Global Practices in Teaching English to Young Learners.

This research was funded in partnership with the British Council and compares the data collected in 2010 in the Global Practices in Teaching English to Young Learners project (Garton et al., 2011) with similar data collected in 2020. The 2020 project replicates and extends the 2010 research to examine six key questions:

  1. Who is teaching young learners (YLs)?
  2. What are the main learning and teaching activities that teachers use in their day-to-day practices and have they changed over the last ten years?
  3. What are the challenges faced by YL teachers? Have these changed over the last ten years?
  4. How do teachers teach speaking, manage large classes, practise differentiation, enhance motivation and maintain effective discipline?
  5. Which local solutions to pedagogical issues have potential for global relevance?
  6. Are recent research findings reflected in how early English language learning (EELL) is practised?

The report first reviews the most recent literature in the field, particularly the growing body of research in Latin America, and the emerging research from the Middle East as well as the more well-established field in Asia. It then describes the methodology used in the 2020 study before presenting the key findings. The findings focus on the main similarities and differences between the two studies, drawing on both questionnaire and classroom-based case study data.

The findings show that many of the challenges faced by primary school teachers in 2010 remain today. This is the case both in countries where EELL policies have been in place for some time and in countries where it is a relatively new policy. Continuing challenges include lack of appropriate classroom resources, lack of appropriate and sufficient teacher training and large class sizes.

Ways forward are suggested for further research in this field, to ensure teaching and learning in the primary sector is both effective and enjoyable.

This publication is free to download in PDF format below. The text is creative commons licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 


Copland, F., Garton, S., & Barnett, C. (2024). Global practices in teaching English to young learners: Ten years on. British Council.

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