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    • #7439
      Manuel Flores Lasarte
      Moderator
        @manuel

        Given that students should use English as much as possible, should students be allowed to speak in their L1 in class? If so, in which cases? If not, why not?

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      • #22810
        YI-HSUAN SHIH
        Participant
          @ellashih

          I think it’s based on which level they are, if it’s just beginning then it’s impossible for them to not speak L1. But if their English is already good enough to have some conversation, then I think they should not speak L1 in class.

        • #22840
          Anna Paoli
          Participant
            @anna

            From my point of view, as teachers we need to find out the reasons why Ss engage in tasks using their L1; it’s not only a question of level but also the given issue addresses: their motivation, their understanding of our instructions, the need for them to have a break.

            In addition to it, I sometimes resort to language one, especially with children, at the end of the lesson when they personally evaluate their performance and go into details about language areas which need further clarification.

          • #22893
            Manuel Flores Lasarte
            Moderator
              @manuel

              Thank you both Ella and Anna. Very good points about level. As you mention, elementary learners, both adults and children, may not have sufficient English to be able to communicate the range of language functions in a typical lesson in the target language. This means that either they can’t communicate as they want to (in English) or that they use L1. It’s important to have a clear policy about use of L1 in class: when learners can use it and how much we let them us.

              Anna you also make a good point about when to use the L1 as a way of engaging learners, checking understanding of instructions or allowing learners to further evaluate their performance in the lesson.

              Can you think of any other moments in which the use of L1 would be acceptable?

              e.g. if a learner is upset for personal reasons and wants to talk to us.

              – …

            • #22907
              Emma Maerz
              Participant
                @emma

                Given that students should use English as much as possible, should students be allowed to speak in their L1 in class? If so, in which cases? If not, why not?

                As Ella mentions, it is unavoidable to proscribe the use of students’ L1 in the classroom.  Students at lower levels will need to find the connection between the L1 and L2 to properly learn the language and understand meaning. If a student needs to use their L1 to speak with a fellow learner to check that they understand any instructions given, then  I believe it would be detrimental to a students motivation and to the completion of a task to disallow this.  As students level increases, this will naturally become less necessary.

                 

              • #22941
                Manuel Flores Lasarte
                Moderator
                  @manuel

                  Thank you Emma. As you mention, low level students may need some support in their L1 to fully understand instructions, so getting some support from peers in their L1 may be a good idea.

                  Of course, ideally, our instructions should be accompanied by gestures, visuals and short sentences to make meaning clear but if the level is too low, then the use of L1 may be inevitable.

                • #23179
                  Manuel Flores Lasarte
                  Moderator
                    @manuel

                    Final comments on the use of L1

                    Situations in which the use of L1 may be necessary include:

                    •  problems with discipline, for example the teacher needs to quickly stop a situation from getting out of control
                    • possible injury or danger to a learner, for example the teacher notices that a learner’s chair is broken
                    • looking after a learner, for example a learner is very upset for personal reasons
                    • repeating instructions in L1 after they have been given in the target language, for example with a beginner young learner group (as you’ve mentioned in this forum discussion)
                    • checking understanding of more abstract vocabulary, for example with an advanced class (although concept checking questions and monolingual dictionaries are usually more useful techniques)

                    It is not a good idea for teachers to use more L1 in the classroom than is necessary. If they do, learners can become more unwilling to use the target language because they are used to hearing (and perhaps using) L1.

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