A sociocultural perspective understanding the role of L1 in the learning of L2 through TBLT and CLIL pedagogical approaches





sociocultural theory, L1 use in L2 teaching and learning, TBLT, CLIL, pedagogical approaches, cognitive/affective/interactional mediation, translanguaging, ZPD, scaffolding


Over the past few decades, there have been an increasing number of empirical studies exploring the use of the first language (L1) in pedagogical approaches (e.g., Lee, 2018; Lo, 2015; Turnbull, 2001). However, to date relatively less research has undressed the role of the L1 from a sociocultural perspective to inform educational practitioners of theory-supported teaching practices. With a focus on two specific pedagogical approaches, namely, task-based language teaching (TBLT) and content and language integrated learning (CLIL), this paper reviews two recent studies whose findings pertaining to the role of L1 in second language (L2) learning and teaching are discussed and re-interpreted through the lens of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of mind (1978, 1986). The discussion uncovers the multifaceted role of L1 as a cognitive, affective, and interactional mediator, which I argue could optimise the L2 learning process within both the TBLT and CLIL classroom discourse. Such a reconceptualisation of the mediating role of the L1 may shed light on the benefits of using L1 in TBLT and CLIL pedagogies and help language educators make research-informed decisions about their language use choices in the L2 classroom.

Author Biography

  • Junlong Li, The University of Cambridge

    Junlong Li has completed his MPhil in Education (Research in Second Language Education) at the University of Cambridge. He has obtained a BA (Hons) in English Language Teaching at Shenzhen University, China. He is experienced in teaching English as a foreign language. He has published research articles in journals such as English Today and Cambridge Educational Research e-Journal. His research interests include translanguaging practices, second language learning motivation, English medium instruction, sociocultural theory, vocabulary learning strategies, and academic transition.
    Email: junlongli2266@gmail.com


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How to Cite

Li, J. (2023). A sociocultural perspective understanding the role of L1 in the learning of L2 through TBLT and CLIL pedagogical approaches. Journal of Language Teaching, 3(4), 11-19. https://doi.org/10.54475/jlt.2023.008

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