Applying the “10,000-hour rule” to English language learning: Or, why informal learning is essential for achieving language proficiency

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TEAL Manitoba Journal
Adult learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL) in Canada do not receive sufficient instruction through classes alone to achieve distinguished levels of proficiency or develop high levels of expertise. is article will explore what is meant by proficiency and look at language learning in terms of the model that has commonly become known as “the 10,000 hour rule” of expertise. is paper attempts to answer the question, what would it take for an EAL learner in Canada to achieve the 10,000 hours necessary to achieve high levels of expertise in language proficiency? Free adult EAL programs in Winnipeg are considered for the number of instructional hours that they offer, and how informal learning is necessary to supplement classroom instruction in order to achieve 10,000 hours of dedicated practice necessary to develop expertise. Recommendations are offered to help educators and learners understand the important role of self-regulated, in- formal learning in achieving language proficiency. Keywords: English as an Additional Language, EAL, Canada, Winnipeg, 10-hour rule, expertise, proficiency, ACTFL, expert, self-regulation, formal learning, non-formal learning, informal learning. Note: is paper was presented as the keynote address at the 2012 TEAM Conference held on May 18, 2012 in Winnipeg.
English, ESL, 10,000 hours, proficiency, informal learning