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Teaching for transfer of second language learning

  • Mark Andrew James (a1)

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An important issue in second language (L2) teaching is transfer of learning. Transfer occurs ‘when learning in one context or with one set of materials impacts on performance in another context or with another set of materials’ (Perkins & Salomon 1994: 6452). For example, knowing how to play guitar may help a person who is learning to play the piano, or experience playing team sports may help a person who has a job that involves teamwork, or having learned math in school may help a person who is shopping. Questions about whether and how learning is applied in different contexts are central to an understanding of human behavior, and answers to such questions are of practical value to educators. It is not surprising, then, that for over a century, transfer has been ‘among the most challenging, contentious, and important issues for both psychology and education’ (Day & Goldstone 2012: 153).

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