University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) Lunchtime Seminars 2014-2015 > Exploring the cross-linguistic transfer of second language writing strategies

Exploring the cross-linguistic transfer of second language writing strategies

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In an increasingly multilingual world, the way in which learners draw on their mother tongue (L1) when learning a foreign language (L2) and the role of the L2 in supporting use of the L1 in various ways is an important topic. This presentation will explore how an explicit focus on metacognitive strategy use within secondary school foreign language lessons impacts pupils’ approaches to writing in the foreign language, and whether any such effects transfer to the first language. While it is almost taken for granted within the literature that any reference to such transfer of strategies implies the one-way transfer of pre-existing skills and strategies from the L1 to the L2, this paper explores the nature and value of transfer of strategies which have been explicitly developed in the Foreign Language classroom, to the L1. The study is based on a quasi-experimental research design which involved a two-phase intervention of strategy-based instruction primarily in the L2 German classroom and later in the English classroom of a Year 9 (age 13-14) class in a secondary school in Cambridgeshire. Key findings indicate that while there was a high level of transfer from one foreign language context to another across all areas, L2-L1 transfer was particularly evident in relation to the quality of pupils’ planning and the number of errors which were made and corrected.

This talk is part of the Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) Lunchtime Seminars 2014-2015 series.

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