Students’ mother tongue in teaching foreign languages: A new angle

Theory and Methods of Training and Education

Educators and researchers highlight the role of mother tongue in teaching and learning foreign languages. Some perform the role of its proponents, others are its opponents. The issue of the preservation of native languages and cultures has always attracted public attention. In this context, the problem of the usage of mother tongue in teaching foreign languages through their comparison is becoming especially essential. In this paper, the authors offer a comparative approach aiming to compare students’ L1 with the target language (L2). The authors assumed that this approach provides conscious and effective assimilation of language phenomena by L2 learners in the classroom. A 3-staged pedagogical experiment allowed the authors to come to the conclusion that a comparative approach to teaching foreign languages builds up lingual and paralingual parallels, due to which the process of language acquisition is fostered, the amount of digested educational materials is increased, students’ native language knowledge is improved. The paper discusses issues and practices on the topic and offers general recommendations for university and school teachers of the English language.