A Literature Review of the Factors Causing and Influencing Language Transfer on Chinese K-12 and College Students
This literature review included 33 studies published in the past ten years focusing on language transfer of Chinese K-12 and college students who studied English. It intended to determine the factors that influence transfer and to examine the instructional suggestions to facilitate positive transfer and inhibit negative transfer of students in the K-12 and college educational contexts. The findings showed that there were multiple factors playing a role in language transfer. These factors and their influences varied across students’ ages and learning stages. Therefore, instructional strategies are also different depending on students’ grades and proficiency. Generally speaking, for beginners, it is important to build up general cognitive and academic skills by implementing a paralleled instruction modes between the first language (L1) and the second language (L2) classes and making analogies between similar structures in these two languages to facilitate the development of language awareness. At this time, teachers should use both students’ L1 and L2 to support their understanding in class. For intermediate and advanced learners, it is important to abandon teaching the equivalents directly from L1 to L2 and immerse students in the context and culture of English. Teachers at this time should only use English in class to build up the context to increase students’ engagement in this language.