Continuing language learning: the role of L1 literacy in secondary L2 language and literacy development

Unfortunately, schools are commonly structured as if all students need the same type of instruction, for the same amount of time, across the same curriculum. While this is far from ideal, it may not seem too problematic in some second language and literacy instructional settings, such as foreign language classrooms, where second language (L2) learners share somewhat similar first language (L1) language and literacy knowledge. However, the structure of most schools can be very problematic in where diversity reigns.

I have been a Polish and English teacher since 1976.
Over the years, I have taught many classes. I introduce a new language mainly by listening and at the beginning all lessons consist of listening, speaking as well as repeating or performing only. I teach grammar simply through situations with no reference to grammar rules at all. My students listen and read a lot to improve their language communication skills. I do not take advantage of the bridge language L1.
I often find myself thinking in Polish and English, flying back and forth from the two languages.
It is difficult to manage exchanging thoughts in two languages simultaneously. Anyhow, why would you like to? Generally speaking, I am for blended learning and teaching with no remark to L1.
Thinking in a foreign language from an early stage helps students gain a level of fluency making very few errors in communication.
I believe, the sooner a student learns to think in a foreign language, the faster she/he will learn. This can only take place if no reference at all is made to L1. My learners need to be free from the interruption of L1.
Maybe I am wrong because it is obviously much easier to teach/learn with the help of pure conversion.
On the other hand, I know that anyone who is learning a second language wishes and dreams about communicating and thinking in that language.
I teach a lot, approximately 4 Polish classes and 4 English classes a day, and I have to admit that my students are very successful learners.

Oxford University Press

Frustrated student at work in classroomMany secondary second language learners face numerous challenges as they develop language and literacy in a second language at the same time they are learning subject area content in that second language. Fortunately, L1 academic literacy is not separate from L2 academic literacy. They are both manifestations of a common underlying proficiency. In this post Dr. Marylou M. Matoush, introduces her forthcoming webinar highlighting the ways that academic language and literacy proficiency can be developed through active reading, writing, speaking and listening in either or both languages.

Secondary schools are commonly structured as if all students need the same type of instruction, for the same amount of time, across the same curriculum. While this is far from ideal, it may not seem too problematic in some second language and literacy instructional settings, such as foreign language classrooms, where second language (L2) learners share somewhat similar first language (L1) language and literacy…

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