Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2589-2053
  • E-ISSN: 2589-207x
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Due to the online global presence of English, many EFL learners encounter English outside the classroom from an early age. This study examined teachers’ perceptions of the language learning affordances, challenges, and benefits in the early English classroom (ages 7–11) of English learnt outside school (extramural English (EE), Sundqvist & Sylvén, 2016). A mixed-methods approach, including a survey, interviews, and data from Facebook interest groups on teaching English, was used to gauge teacher perceptions. Results showed that generally teachers had positive attitudes towards the learning potentials of EE (especially related to fostering vocabulary learning) and for creating motivation for learning English. Teachers found less benefits of playing digital games than from watching YouTube videos. Teachers also reported demotivation in students stemming from being bored in class or from feeling behind compared to others, i.e., personal expectations of English skills were high. The study points to a need for focus in teacher education on the benefits of extramural activities for their students’ learning (especially gaming). This means fostering awareness in prospective teachers of the importance of incidental learning processes as these are key in the global English context. Moreover, sharing ideas for integrating EE into teaching practices is needed.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Borg, S.
    (2017) Teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices. InP. Garrett & J. M. Cots (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of language awareness (pp.75–91). Routledge. 10.4324/9781315676494‑5
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315676494-5 [Google Scholar]
  2. Braun, V. & Clarke, V.
    (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
    https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa [Google Scholar]
  3. Cable, C., Driscoll, P., Mitchell, R., Sing, S., Cremin, T., Earl, J., Eyres, I., Holmes, B., Martin, C., & Heins, B.
    (2010) Language learning at key stage 2: a longitudinal study. Final Report. https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/790/1/DCSF-RR198.pdf
  4. Cadierno, T., & Eskildsen, S. W.
    (2018) The younger, the better?: A usage-based approach to learning and teaching of English in Danish primary schools. European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(1), 171–182. 10.1515/eujal‑2017‑0018
    https://doi.org/10.1515/eujal-2017-0018 [Google Scholar]
  5. Denham, K., & Lobeck, A.
    (Eds.) (2010) Linguistics at school: Language awareness in primary and secondary education. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511770791
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511770791 [Google Scholar]
  6. De Wilde, V., Brysbaert, M., & Eyckmans, J.
    (2020) Learning English through out-of-school exposure. Which levels of language proficiency are attained and which types of input are important?Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(1), 171–185. 10.1017/S1366728918001062
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728918001062 [Google Scholar]
  7. Edelenbos, P., Johnstone, R., & Kubanek, A.
    (2006) The main pedagogical principles underlying the teaching of languages to very young learners. European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/languages/policy/language-policy/documents/young_en.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Erk, M.
    (2021) Diversity in EELL: Matters of context and contact. InJ. Rokita-Jaśkow & A. Wolanin (Eds.), Facing diversity in child foreign language education (pp.75–98). Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑66022‑2_5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66022-2_5 [Google Scholar]
  9. Graddol, D.
    (2006) English next. British Council.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Han, Y., & Reinhardt, J.
    (2022) Autonomy in the digital wilds: Agency, competence, and self-efficacy in the development of L2 digital identities. Tesol Quarterly, 561, pp.1–31. 10.1002/tesq.3142
    https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.3142 [Google Scholar]
  11. Hannibal Jensen, S.
    (2017) Gaming as an English language learning resource among young children in Denmark. Calico Journal, 34(1), 1–19. 10.1558/cj.29519
    https://doi.org/10.1558/cj.29519 [Google Scholar]
  12. (2019) Language learning in the wild: A young user perspective. Language Learning & Technology, 23(1), 72–86.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Heidemann Andersen, M.
    (2003) Engelsk i dansk. Sprogholdninger i Danmark. Helt vildt sjovt eller wannabeagtigt og ejendomsmæglerkækt?Dansk Sprognævns skrifter, 331. København: Dansk Sprognævn. https://auinstallation42.cs.au.dk/fileadmin/projekter/Muds.dk/rapporter/MUDS_9.pdf#page=34
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Henry, A.
    (2013) Digital games and ELT in Sweden. InE. Ushioda (Ed.), International perspectives on motivation: Language learning and professional challenges (pp.133–156). Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137000873_8
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137000873_8 [Google Scholar]
  15. Henry, A., Korp, H., Sundqvist, P., & Thorsen, C.
    (2018) Motivational strategies and the reframing of English: Activity design and challenges for teachers in contexts of extensive extramural encounters. TESOL Quarterly, 52(2), 247–273. 10.1002/tesq.394
    https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.394 [Google Scholar]
  16. Kusyk, M., & Sockett, G.
    (2012) From informal resource usage to incidental language acquisition: language uptake from online television viewing in English. ASp. la revue du GERAS, 621, 45–65. 10.4000/asp.3104
    https://doi.org/10.4000/asp.3104 [Google Scholar]
  17. Lefever, S. C.
    (2010) English skills of young learners in Iceland: “I started talking English when I was 4 years old. It just bang… just fall into me.” Paper presented at theMenntakvika Conference, Reykjavik. https://netla.hi.is/serrit/2010/menntakvika2010/021.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Lindgren, E., & Muñoz, C.
    (2013) The influence of exposure, parents, and linguistic distance on young European learners– foreign language comprehension. International Journal of Multilingualism, 10(1), 105–129. 10.1080/14790718.2012.679275
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2012.679275 [Google Scholar]
  19. Ministry of Children and Education
    Ministry of Children and Education (2019) Common objectives. Ministry of Children and Education. https://www.emu.dk/grundskole/engelsk?b=t5
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Nikolov, M., & Mihaljević Djigunović, J.
    (2019) Teaching young language learners. InX. Gao (Ed.), Second Handbook of English Language Teaching. Springer International Handbooks of Education, (pp.1–23). Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑58542‑0_31‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0_31-1 [Google Scholar]
  21. Preisler, B.
    (2003) English in Danish and the Danes English. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 1591, 109–126. 10.1515/ijsl.2003.001
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.2003.001 [Google Scholar]
  22. Reinders, H., & Benson, P.
    (2017) Research agenda: Language learning beyond the classroom. Language Teaching, 50(4), 561–578. 10.1017/S0261444817000192
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444817000192 [Google Scholar]
  23. Schurz, A., Coumel, M., & Hüttner, J.
    (2022) Accuracy and fluency teaching and the role of extramural English: A tale of three countries. Languages, 7(35), 1–15. 10.3390/languages7010035
    https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010035 [Google Scholar]
  24. Schurz, A., & Sundqvist, P.
    (2022) Connecting extramural English with ELT: Teacher reports from Austria, Finland, France, and Sweden. Applied Linguistics, 1–22. 10.1093/applin/amac013
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amac013 [Google Scholar]
  25. Schwarz, M.
    (2020) Beyond the walls: A mixed methods study of teenagers’ extramural English practices and their vocabulary knowledge (Doctoral dissertation, University of Vienna).
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Slåtvik, A. B., Daugaard, L. M., & Jakobsen, A. S.
    (2020) Kvalitetsudvikling, brobygning og videreudvikling – en behovsundersøgelse i faget engelsk på tværs af uddannelsessystemet. Det Nationale Center for Fremmedsprog. https://ncff.dk/fileadmin/NCFF/Dokumenter/Behovsundersoegelse_i_engelsk_VIA_og_NCFF_august_2020.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Sundqvist, P.
    (2019) Commercial-off-the-shelf games in the digital wild and L2 learner vocabulary. Language Learning and Technology, 23(1), 87–113. 10125/44674
    https://doi.org/10125/44674 [Google Scholar]
  28. Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L. K.
    (2014) Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden. ReCALL, 26(01), 3–20. 10.1017/S0958344013000232
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0958344013000232 [Google Scholar]
  29. (2016) Extramural English in teaching and learning: From theory and research to practice. Springer. 10.1057/978‑1‑137‑46048‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-46048-6 [Google Scholar]
  30. Swedish School Inspectorate
    Swedish School Inspectorate (2011) Kvalitetsgranskning: Engelska I grundskolans årskurser 6–9. Stockholm, Swedish Government. https://www.skolinspektionen.se/beslut-rapporter-statistik/publikationer/kvalitetsgranskning/2011/engelska-i-grundskolans-arskurser-69/
  31. Sylvén, L. K. & Sundqvist, P.
    (2012) Gaming as extramural English L2 learning and L2 proficiency among young learners. ReCALL, 24(03), 302-321. 10.1017/S095834401200016X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S095834401200016X [Google Scholar]
  32. Thorhauge, A. M., Buhl, B., & Keiding Lindholm, J.
    (2016) Børn og Unges Digitale Sikkerhed. https://issuu.com/detfi/docs/born_og_unges_digitale_virkelighed
  33. Thorne, S. L., & Reinhardt, J.
    (2008) “Bridging activities”, new media literacies, and advanced foreign language proficiency, CALICO Journal, 25(3), 558–572. 10.1558/cj.v25i3.558‑572
    https://doi.org/10.1558/cj.v25i3.558-572 [Google Scholar]
  34. Ushioda, E.
    (Ed.) (2013) International perspectives on motivation: Language learning and professional challenges. Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137000873
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137000873 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): extramural English; second language learning; young learners
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error