The starting point for this collection is a chapter by Dick Allwright on the language learning and teaching classroom experience entitled Six Promising Directions in Applied Linguistics. The other distinguished contributors respond to this discussion with their own interpretations and from their own experience. The contributors are Mike Breen, Antonieta Celani, Hywel Coleman, John Fanselow & Roger Barnard, Donald Freeman, Simon Gieve & Ines Miller, Adrian Holliday, Roz Ivanic & Lydia Tseng, Elaine Tarone, Tony Wright, and Devon Woods. Kathleen Bailey 's Foreword sets the scene. The collection problematizes prescription, efficiency, and technical solutions as orientations to classroom language learning. The ideas that have found most resonance in contributors' attempts at understanding language classroom life are the inherent complexity and idiosyncrasy of classroom life, the central importance of participants' own understandings; the relationship between classroom life and teachers' and students' lives, negotiation between teachers and learners, the relationship between the local and the global, and the 'quality' of classroom life. These themes are addressed in the contexts of language learning, adult literacy education and language teacher education.