Vocabulary instruction in non-academic adult English as a second language programs: Theories of practice

Carol Inguaggiato Cochi, Fordham University


The number of adult immigrants in need of English-as-a-second language (ESL) instruction is increasing, and these immigrants are settling down in a wide variety of non-traditional destinations across the county. Various programs offer ESL instruction to these immigrants, but little is known about the instructional practices they use or the instructors they employ. The purpose of this exploratory single case study was to learn about the instructional activities used by teachers in non-academic adult ESL programs to teach vocabulary to their beginner-level students and the beliefs that informed their practice. Data was collected using questionnaires, classroom observations, and post-observation interviews. Study findings reveal that teachers implemented two types of activities to teach vocabulary: oral vocabulary activities and written vocabulary activities. In examining the participants’ theories of practice, the findings also revealed vast congruence between the participants’ beliefs and practices. This document concludes with a discussion of the findings, their implications for professionalizing the field of adult ESL and for classroom instruction, and implications for future research.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language|Adult education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Cochi, Carol Inguaggiato, "Vocabulary instruction in non-academic adult English as a second language programs: Theories of practice" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10116320.