Iranian EFL learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of good and poor language learners: Points of convergence and divergence

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 5


Tamimi Sa’d, Seyyed Hatam*
Urmia University, Iran (

Gholami, Javad
Urmia University, Iran (


This qualitative study is an investigation into Iranian EFL teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of good and poor language learners with an eye on where the beliefs of these two groups coincide or diverge. The study was an attempt to scrutinize the most commonly held beliefs on successful and unsuccessful language learners by EFL teachers and learners. To this end, a total number of 110 elementary EFL learners (95 males and 15 females) and 20 male language teachers, aged between 26 and 45, with 2 to 13 years of English teaching experience were asked to verbalize their perceptions through describing what they perceived as good and poor language learners. General, common trends and themes as well as dissimilarities were found in the features mentioned by the teachers and learners for good and poor language learners. The results revealed that the teachers’ viewpoints revolved mainly around the communicative ability of the successful language learners outside the classroom milieu while the learners’ viewpoints were found to be more traditional in nature, emphasizing the teacher’s authority, and the learners’ discipline inside the classroom setting and their steady practice as the main criteria to distinguish between good and poor language learners. The findings clearly indicated that, at times, the learners’ perceptions of (un)successful language learners stand in contrast to, i.e., diverge from, their teachers’. In conclusion, this mismatch can have serious negative connotations on the learning behavior of the learners in the long run. Therefore, language teachers are expected to improve the learners’ perceptions of successful language learning and of what it means to be a successful language learner.

Keywords: good language learners; poor language learners; EFL teachers; EFL Learners; perceptions



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