Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > DO YOU USE YOUR MOTHER LANGUAGE WHILE TEACHING? -except English :)    


[email protected]


If I tell the truth , I use Turkish when I have difficulty to explain anything else. Because english isn t our native language. Sometimes as I m talking English most of the students are staring at me : )) As if they say "What the hell are you talking about???" :) I immediately change my language and start to tell in Turkish..

  But when I was at the university all of the our teachers said that we had to speak english not turkish !!  I m in a dilemma since I started to teach :(
   Do you experience such things like me??
                                                           Hugs XXX

13 Jan 2011      

United States

I often use L1 when teaching, especially when I am explaining more complicated concepts.

13 Jan 2011     

Czech Republic

I mostly speak in English. When there is a new vocabulary, I use pictures, pantomime and they have to guess the right meaning. But when I am explaining grammar, I say it English AND Czech so I know they all understand. And to be honest, as I teach also children with special needs (dyslexia etc.) I use Czech quite often in these classes because they need to translate everything from English to Czech. So I mime, draw and try them to translate the sentences themselves. But its a tough job.

13 Jan 2011     


yeah, I use French, especially when I explain grammar or if I see a pupil has not understood what to do even if I said it several times in English.
but when there s a word to translate, I let my pupils say it in French, to check they have understood what the word means!
have a nice day.

13 Jan 2011     


I know very well what you are going through charming.
Every night I tell myself "Tomorrow I am not gonna use Arabic; only English" but when I start teaching and looking at my students faces, I see a desperate look as if they are saying " please miss, could you say it in Arabic. We understood nothing" I switch to L1.
I do use VAs a lot and also pantomime. and sometimes I tend to explain things and at the same time I try to use like a very simplified sign language for them to understand. There is also a method that I use which I call "Tarzanglish" LOL it s English but like when Tarzan speaks it; you know like "Me Tarzan you Jane eat this" Tongue
I try to encourage them to speak only English and reward them if they do it the whole session and I try to ask them to reexplain words to me or even translate them into Arabic or French to make sure they understand. 
I wish you good luck

13 Jan 2011     


I always try to avoid using Japanese when I teach but sometimes there are situations that I have to use it. When I use it, I try to say only one or two words the rest they ll figure out after repeating it endenssly. I m not a native Japanese so sometimes there s no other way than explaining something in English. It might take a little longer but in the end the students will benefit from it.

13 Jan 2011     

maryse pey

Yes, I do ! How can you explain a difficult point of grammar in a foreign language when the students do not speak fluently this language ? They would have 2 problems to deal with : 1st : the new point of grammar, sometimes completely different or non existant in their mother tongue, and 2nd : the vocabulary. So, I think that it is very difficult not to use our mother tongue to explain some important things. But what I do to is asking the students questions to lead them to the main notions. I give them clues or a starting of reflexion and they are particularly happy when they find out the right answer. Important too is to give them funny and/or simple mnemonic means to remember the new taught points. Mnemonic means closely linked with something familiar in their mother tongue. It is sometimes surprising to see how inventive these students can be to find their own means which can be efficient and useful for others.

13 Jan 2011     


I also use the L1 when trying to explain difficult grammar points (or simply grammar at beginner levels) or concepts. Sometimes, I also use it when proverbs and idiomatic phrases are involved; first I explain their meaning in English and then I try to give them some equivalent in Greek (if there is one, of course), as I believe this helps them fully understand the connotations of these phrases.

I do try to avoid using the L1 with more advanced students, though. The more familiar students become with English, the less necessary it becomes to explain things to them in Greek.

13 Jan 2011     


I use Hebrew a lot, especially in the lower grades most of the class in run in Hebrew. I wish I used it less but i also have a hard time with these blak or worse, stressed out expressions on their faces signalling they didn t understand a word. I wish I spoke more English and in the Higher grades I do, some lessons I speak almost only English there, but not nearly always.

Being a non native Hebrew speaker is actually an advantage. I often ask them  how to spell something in Hebrew (when translating something on the board for example). The fact that I ask for help, or make mistakes brings us closer. They can feel good about their ability to correct or help me and it shows that you are allowed to make mistakes, that we learn through them and from them...

13 Jan 2011     

United States

I agree with Marion on having students help me with their L1--I teach Germans and they quite often ask how something is spelled or said in German.  I think  it helps maintain a better, mutually-supporting learning environment.

13 Jan 2011     


Well, I try to use English at all times, but students don t learn it in the same way. They need different techniques. Some of them need drilling and translation mostly in the grammar rules ( but always try to make them infere the rules by themselves since it is most meaningful ) and some others can learn English only by listening to it. It always depends in the group of students you are teaching.
We just have to keep in mind WE ARE TEACHING and our main goal is to make students learn. So, in order to achieve that we must apply different  strategies and L1 in certain occasions is one of them.

14 Jan 2011     

1    2    Next >