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Transfer is all around us. We do it many times and we don't even know that we do it. It helps us move, like, it motivates us, like 'I know that, I can do that.' -6th grade student, Merton Elementary school (2016)

What is transfer of language learning?

Research has defined language transfer as ‘‘the influence of a person’s knowledge of one language on that person’s knowledge or use of another language’’ (Jarvis & Pavlenko, 2010).

In the classroom

In the ELA and FSL classrooms, the teacher can foster language learning transfer from one language to another by involving students in activities that solicit prior language knowledge.  For transfer of language learning to occur on a conscious level, the student must actively compare similarities and differences between languages. This reflection and contrastive analysis can help to develop cognitive and metalinguistic skills that are valuable to both languages.

"The reality is that students are making cross-linguistic connections throughout the course of their learning in a bilingual or immersion program, so why not nurture this learning strategy and help students to apply it more efficiently.’’  (Cummins, 2007)