Understanding the ways in which learners differ from one another is a fundamental concern to those involved in foreign language acquisition, as researchers or books synthesizing and evaluating research on foreign language acquisition have tended to concentrate on the study of similarities. The article argues that greatest importance should be attributed to the awareness of learners as individuals as well as members of a group and differentiation of instruction to satisfy the needs of the very many learners in a learner-centered foreign language classroom. It has to be a holistic process, in which the learners both as individuals and in groups can receive maximum opportunity to learn and develop.
Based on Ellis’ classification of individual learner factors, this article considers matters as group dynamics, learning strategies, age, language aptitude, intelligence, motivation, personality and a few others, which have been distinguished to explain differential success among foreign language learners. The article explores the roles of teachers to accomplish a challenging task to satisfy the very many different learners in a foreign language classroom, which would secure the learners’ sustainable development for them to become versatile and integrated personalities.
Key words: group dynamics, learning strategies, aptitude, intelligence, cognitive style, sustainable development