A Critical Analysis Comparing the Role of L1 in CLIL and Translanguaging

  • Chen Ling University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Keywords: Bilingualism, CLIL, L1, Linguistic Repertoire, Pedagogy, Translanguaging


Mother tongue use in the classroom is an emerging practice combatting the old idea of achieving bilingualism through parallel monolingualism. As the discussion of the first language’s (L1) role within pedagogical contexts is still in its relative infancy, a critical analysis which compares how the pedagogical affordances of two recent L2 pedagogical approaches, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Translanguaging, influence language teachers’ pedagogical choices will contribute to the current understanding of how educators clarify the role of L1. Besides its recency, both pedagogies are also chosen as the scope of this discussion because their aims are not solely to gain knowledge of the target language (TL). Funnelling the discussion with two empirical studies which represents the typical application of these pedagogies, this essay found that L1 has three types of facilitating roles, namely class and task management, scaffolding the target language production, and conceptual clarification. A clear distinction between these two pedagogies is established: while CLIL teachers always prioritise TL and treats L1 as a compensatory measure, Translanguaging teachers are authorised to mobilise a wider range of communicative resources rooted in the learners’ mother tongue. This essay recommends further exploration on the role of L1 across other pedagogies to better empower educators in actively and judiciously employing the inevitability of students’ L1 in the classroom to their advantage.


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Author Biography

Chen Ling, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Chen Ling is a postgraduate student in the Department of Research in Second Language Education (RSLE), Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She completed her BA in International communications at the University of Nottingham degree. Her academic interests lie in language learning pedagogies, specifically content and language integrated learning and translanguaging.


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How to Cite
Ling, C. (2023). A Critical Analysis Comparing the Role of L1 in CLIL and Translanguaging. Elsya : Journal of English Language Studies, 5(1), 45-53. https://doi.org/10.31849/elsya.v5i1.9990
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