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Reaction paper

  1. 1. Role of the L1 in the English Classroom Role of the L1 in the English Classroom Gabriela L Quezada Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepcion1
  2. 2. Role of the L1 in the English Classroom Role of the L1 in the English classroom The ability to acquire a language is one of the most important features that differentiate human beings from other animals and what is more, the ability to acquire a second language is a difficult process which has been studied for some authors that not only wanted to know about that process and how the mother tongue affect it, but also wanted to find some strategies that can improve the process of learning a second language. some authors have investigated about the importance of L1 in the acquisition or learning of L2; Cook (2011) is one of them,he focuses his researches on the comparison of the child learning L1 and L2, Cook (2011) pointed out eight main differences that deal with learners behavior, personal characteristics, the environment that surround them among others. As the text explains, they seem to have potential implications for languages in education. The second author, Krashen (1981) focuses his researchers on first language influence on second language performance. In chapter 5 of the text Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning he summarizes the Idea on three statements that are supported by the use of specific and clear evidence. According to Krashen (1981) “first language influence appears to be strongest in complex word order and in word-for-word translations of phrases”, “first language influence is weaker in bound morphology” and the last one “first language influence seems to be strongest in “acquisition poor” environments” (p.1). Finally the last author is Freeman, who in two chapters refers not only to first and second language acquisition, but also to written acquisition. On the first chapter he focuses2
  3. 3. Role of the L1 in the English Classroom mainly on first language acquisition from different views and fields of study, such as psychology, sociology, linguistic among others. And on the second chapter he focuses on written and second language acquisition, describing different views and the main purposes that they have depending on the view. At the moment of reading the texts what caught my attention at the very beginning, was that every statement, every declaration was not a fallacy, instead of that, every one of them have evidence, some of them were studies, some of them experiments, and some of them researches, but all of them were totally clear and strong. After reading the different texts, andanalyzed the researches, theories and evidences related to acquiring L1 and L2, I can realize that the text definitely will help us as futures teachers in the process of teaching a second language. Even when the three authors mentioned above focus their investigation on the acquisition of L1 and L2 every one of them had different and specific objectives, but despite that they agree in relevant factors, such as the significance of cognition in the process of acquiring a language, the influence that mother tongue has on this process, and as a futures teachers-to-be, in my personal opinion the most important fact are the suggestions that they mention in order to help us to improve the teaching of a second language. Cook (2011) explains “Language teachers might at least consider the alternative of starting from the student’s social and psychological needs in the classroom rather than from the student’s needs in the future” (p.10). Also Krashen (1993) suggest that “students acquire a language when they receive input that is slightly beyond3
  4. 4. Role of the L1 in the English Classroom their current level” (p.38). Krashen means that if teachers give student input that is below their level, the students will have nothing new to acquire. Moreover in the text of Freeman, we can find diverse hypothesis related to second language acquisition and one of them is about the affective filter, how some negative factors such as boredom, anxiety among others can influence in the process of acquiring a second language, Freeman (2004) explains that those factors can serve as a kind of filter to block out the new information. As a conclusion I would like to say that those text definitely were important in my formation as a future teacher; moreover, after reading the texts I would like to broaden my mind to these investigations and maybe focus my thesis on one of the topics that were developed. Undoubtedly it would be an amazing and enriching experience.4
  5. 5. Role of the L1 in the English Classroom References Cook, V. (2011). Second Language Learning and Language Teaching (3 ed). Freeman, D., & Freeman, Y. (2004) What you need to know to teach reading, ESL, Spelling, Phonics, Grammar. Heinemann Krashen, S.(1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. University of Southern California5