Benefits of Mother Tongue in the Adult ESL Classroom
Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal
Traditional views on second language acquisition (SLA) have failed to explain the convoluted nature of adult language acquisition. Unlike children, adults' ability to learn a subsequent language is influenced by socio cultural and affective factors such as their ethnicity, first language (L1) and their feelings and emotions. As mature adults enter the second language learning process equipped with a sophisticated language system already in place, they both consciously and unconsciously draw
... it when learning a new language. As L1 is a vital element of an individual's identity, denying it in the second language (L2) classroom, can have detrimental effects on his/her L2 learning success. Thus, the literature reviewed in this article explores the influence of an adult's L1 on L2 learning success. The findings indicate that the use of L1 enables the incorporation of students' prior experience into classroom pedagogy; reframes the relationship between language learners and target language speakers; reduces classroom anxiety and preserves the linguistic and cultural identities of the language learner. These themes were interpreted within the framework of humanistic approach to language teaching. According to the findings, an individual's L1 exerts a positive influence on his/her L2 learning success due to its ability to create a learner-centred, anxiety free, low-risk classroom environment. In light of this, it is recommended that the leaner's L1 should be treated as a resource rather than a hindrance in the language classroom. Hence, learners should be given the opportunity to use it as a tool where necessary in the L2 classroom.