The effects of language transfer as a resource in instruction

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The support of multilingualism within the European Union is one of the central concerns of the Commission of the European Communities. The contextually-bound and flexible use of several languages is regarded as a key qualification, both for individual and social purposes. Within the framework of education in early infancy, the countries involved (in the CotEC) are supposed to promote initiatives that support multilingualism in European societies (European Commission 2005). So, how can the raising of awareness for interlingual phenomena, be encouraged systematically in the context of language instruction and how do students with different language learning experiences benefit from this instructional support? The following contribution addresses this question in the context of English as a second language and German language instruction. This is a shortened and complemented version of Göbel, Vieluf & Hesse (2010). The analysis of a survey on a total amount of about 11.000 students and 440 teachers from different school types show that language transfer promoting instruction is seldomly integrated in German and English classes. Still it can be shown, that language transfer promoting instruction has a positive effect on the language competence development of students in ESL classes.


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