Social Context and Resources Available to Iranian Foreign Language Learners of English

Ali Kazemi, Iman Izadi


It has long been known that teaching and learning a language in an ESL context is by far easier than teaching and learning it in an EFL context and that learning a language must take place in a social context. Foreign language contexts are those in which students do not have enough opportunities for communication in the target language beyond their classroom settings whereas in second language contexts, the target language is readily available out there (Brown, 2001). Given the important role that language learning resources could potentially play in EFL contexts, in the present study an attempt is made to shed light on the resources which Iranian language learners rely on and to explore the possible resources which exist around them and of which not all of them are necessarily aware. To this end, a group of students studying in Iran Language Institute in Shiraz was chosen. The data of the study were gathered through a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. The findings suggested that they rely on very few resources outside the classroom setting. In addition, it was revealed that in an EFL context, such as Iran, there is a range of resources which foreign language learners could rely on and which could present them with opportunities in all four language skills.



Foreign language learning, language learning resources, second language context, social context

Full Text:



Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. Longman, London.

Borgatti, S., Cross, R., (2003). A relational view of information seeking and learning in social networks. Management Science 49, 432–445.

Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R. (Eds.), (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience. National Academy Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. & Morris, P. A. (1998). The ecology of developmental processes. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) & R. M. Lerner (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 1: Theoretical models of human development (5th ed., pp. 993–1028). New York: Wiley.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1988). Interacting systems in human development. Research paradigms: present and future. In N. Bolger, A. Caspi, G. Downey, & M. Moorehouse (Eds.), Persons in context: Developmental Processes (pp. 25–49). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Brookfield, S. (1980). Independent adult learning. Studies in Adult Education 13 (1), 1-14.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles, an integrative approach to language pedagogy. (Second Edition). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.

Chamot, A.U., O’Malley, J.M., (1996). Implementing the cognitive academic language learning approach (CALLA). In: Oxford, R. (Ed.), Language Learning Strategies around the World: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. University of Hawaii Press, Manoa, pp, 23-65.

Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Crain, S., & Lillo-Martin, D. (1999). An introduction to linguistic theory and language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Dickinson, L., (1992). Learner autonomy 2: Learner Training for Language Learning. Authentik, Dublin.

Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foster, P., Skehan, P., (1996). The influence of planning and task types on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 18, 299–324.

Gallaway, C., & Richards, B. J. (1994). Input and interaction in language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Garner , R., (1990). When children and adults do not use learning strategies: toward a theory of settings. Review of Educational Research 60 (4), 517–529.

Heath, S. B., (1983). Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Hoff, E. (2003a). Language development in childhood. In R. M. Lerner, M. A. Easterbrooks,

& J. Mistri (Eds.), Handbook of psychology. Developmental psychology (Vol. 6, pp. 171–193). New York: Wiley.

Hoff, E. (2005). Language development. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Hoff, E. (2006). How Social Contexts Support and Shape Language Development. Developmental Review, 26, 55-88.

Hoff-Ginsberg, E., & Shatz, M. (1982). Linguistic input and the child’s acquisition of language. Psychological Bulletin, 92, 3–26.

Holliday, A., (1994). Appropriate Methodology and Social Context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publication.

Lamb, M. (2004). Integrative motivation in a globalizing world. System 32 (1), 3–20.

Lantolf, J.P., (2000). Introducing sociocultural theory. In: Lantolf, J. P., (Ed). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford University Press, pp.1-26.

Lave, J., (1993). The practice of learning. In: Chaiklin, S., Lave, J. (Eds.), Understanding Practice: Perspectives on Activity and Context. Cambridge University Press, pp 444-531

Lave, J., Wenger, E., (1991). Situated Learning. Cambridge University Press, pp. 23-56.

McDermott, R., (1993). The acquisition of a child by a learning disability. In: Lave, J., Chaiklin, S. (Eds.), Understanding Practice: Perspectives on Activity and Context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 269–305.

Norton, B., Toohey, K., (2003). Learner autonomy as agency in sociocultural settings. In Palfreyman, D., Smith, R.C. (Eds.), Learner Autonomy Across Cultures: Language Education Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 124-206.

O’Malley, J.M., Chamot, A.U., (1990). Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Oxford, R., (1990). Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know. Heinle and Heinle, Boston.

Oxford, R.L., Ehrman, M.E., (1995). Adults’ language learning strategies in an intensive foreign language program in the United States. System 23, 359–386.

Palfreyman, D. (2006). Social Context and Resources for Language Learning. System, 34, 352-370.

Palfreyman, D., (2003). Expanding the discourse on learner development: a reply to Anita Wenden. Applied Linguistics (24/2), 243–248.

Pica, T., Doughty, C., (1988). Variation in classroom interaction as a function of participation pattern and task. In: Fine, J. (Ed.), Second Language Discourse (pp. 82–105). Ablex, Norwood, NJ.

Shayer, M., (2002). Not just Piaget, not just Vygotsky, and certainly not Vygotsky as an alternative to Piaget. In: Shayer, M., (Ed). Learning intelligence, cognitive acceleration across the curriculum from 5 to 15 years. UK: Open University Press.

Spolsky, B., Gem, J.B. and Read, J. (1974). A Model for the Description, Analysis, and Perhaps Evaluation of Bilingual Education. Navajo Reading Study Progress Report No. 23. Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico.

Stern, H.H. (1983). Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching. Oxford University Press.

Tudge, J., Gray, J. T., & Hogan, D. M. (1997). Ecological perspectives in human development: A comparison of Gibson and Bronfenbrenner. In J. Tudge, M. J. Shanahan, & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Comparisons of human development: Understanding time and context (pp. 72–105). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tudor, I., (2003). Learning to live with complexity: towards an ecological perspective on language teaching. System 31, 1–12.

Turuk, M, C. (2008). The Relevance and Implications of Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory in the Second Language Classroom. ARECLS, 5, 244-262.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, Massachusetts, the M.I.T.

Wenden, A., (1991). Learner Strategies for Learner Autonomy. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs.

Wertsch, J., (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. UK: Harvard University Press.

Wertsch, J., (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. UK: Harvard University Press.

Willing, K., (1988). Learning Strategies in Adult Migrant Education. National Curriculum.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.