Grappling with the oral skills : The learning and teaching of the low - literate adult second language learner Susanna Strube This study concerns adult L2 students who have had little or no education in their country of origin and , as a consequence , have never or only marginally learned to read and write in their L1 . L2 literacy teachers have observed that the rate of learning of these students is slow , their attainment level is low , and their cognitive strategies are often inadequate . In this study learners in six adult L2 literacy classes were followed during the practice of the oral skills for eight months . The students were pre - and post - assessed . The results on these tests were analyzed on vocabulary , morphosyntactic features as well as aspects of relevance and coherence in discourse . From this analysis notable differences in class gains surfaced . To explain these differences the learning results were examined in relation to classroom observations focusing on classroom procedures , classroom interaction , and corrective feedback . A modest progression in language proficiency was noted . This indicates how problematic L2 learning can be in an educational setting . Nevertheless important observations came to light â of which the use of CALL activities was especially remarkable . One class with a low number of classroom hours and a limited practice on grammar and dialogs used CALL activities and surfaced with relatively high gain scores , particularly for morphosyntax . This study is of interest to researchers of L2 low - literate adult learners , but also for teachers and policy makers . Teachers gain insights into learning and teaching , while policy makers see that learning is a slow and complicated process for the low - literate L2 learner .