Impact of learning English uncovered by research team
The researchers, including Dr Naeema Hann and Dr Ivor Timmis at Leeds Met, set out to investigate the impact of English Language on the learning and wider lives of students of English as a second language in Leeds and Salford in the UK as well as in China, Columbia and UAE. The project was funded by the British Council's English Language Teaching Research Award scheme.
The team found that, after education and work, life areas most influenced by English were: access to knowledge and new ways of thinking, as well as social contact and leisure activities.
Dr Timmis commented: "Resourcing English Language teaching is often justified with reference to improved employment opportunities and standards of living. However, our research revealed that English played an equally important role in enriching the quality of life. It also raised questions about the ownership of English."
Dr Hann added: "It was very important to investigate the impact that learning to speak English has on people's wider lives - research in this area is normally tied to work and career but we opened this up to find out what difference it can make to people's lives. We live in a globalised world where English is the common language of business, commerce and transnational families. Additionally, the majority of English speakers are non-native."
In their report, the team have suggested two tools for measuring the impact of English on learners' lives. Dr Timmis and Dr Hann are now developing these tools further for use by course providers and policy makers.
The full report can be viewed here.