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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > The use of the mother tongue in ESL classes    

The use of the mother tongue in ESL classes



Fragrant.Perfume
Tunisia

The use of the mother tongue in ESL classes
 
Hi there! I d like to ask, my Tunisian colleagues especially, about to what extent do you use or resort to use the mother tongue in class? especially with young learners? And how shall you justify its use? Thanks in advance :)

11 Oct 2014      



fathi
Tunisia

I think we should  use the target language as much as we can. I mean a good teacher  uses all means and methods including visuals,songs, gestures etc without resorting to Arabic /translation. Try to use English all the time so that students get used to it . Let them discover the meaning of vocabulary through context. Try to provide the "authentic" context that fosters learning language. This is the way I think our students can best learn languages. Thanks 


11 Oct 2014     



ramzivalentino
Tunisia

hello colleague. I think you are allowed to use some words in Arabic as far as 7th form pupils are concerned. I heard my previous inspector saying so. Nevertheless, you can make things clear using visuals or giving multiple examples.

11 Oct 2014     



ELOJOLIE274
France

don t know about Tunisia but in France we ought to use English as much as we can.

when someone in the class doesn t understand a word, or needs a translation, i tend to let other pupils translate it, give a synonym etc... if someone has a problem (can t hear, too hot...) i ask them to say it in English unless it s serious (= they are ill, they re feeling sick...)

But when I teach grammar I often use French in class to help my pupils compare the 2 languages (ex: the fact that in English there s an auxiliairy in "do you like chocolate?" wherease in French there s no auxiliary) = because we were told during our training that to master a rule in a second language we always make unconscious links between the 2 languages. but again i try to let the pupils explain in French the difference between the 2 languages instead of saying it myself

so they know i speak French only if there s a real problem (a pupil misbehaving, endangering himself or someone else, someone s sick/ill etc) 

11 Oct 2014     



nasreddine Sarsar
Tunisia

Well, using the mother tongue in our instruction should never be frowned upon. It s a tool - among many other tools - that an ESL teacher can use to boost his/her students understanding of some new concepts. We should understand that translation, especially at an early stage, is a common phenomenon. When we learn a new language, especially for communicative purposes, we tend to get a bilingual dictionary and start learning some new words and phrases we deem useful to communicate with people speaking the target language. Accordingly, teachers should try to work with this innate tendency rather than against it. Research into second language learning has shown that L1 is an important resource in teaching L2 (Cook 2001). When we teach our students a second language, we should not devalue their mother tongue. By preventing them from using L1 at all costs, we are making them feel that their mother tongue is inferior to the target language. Personally, I have experienced this in the UAE. Students started questioning the real value of learning a language whose instructor has "negative feelings about their L1)! Learning a new language should enrich the students lives. It is a plus that should not devaluate their language and cultural heritage. Using the mother tongue actually saves a lot of time that can be used for more useful activities. More often than not, the instructions to the activity are complicated and students do not understand what is required from them, there is no harm in giving the instructions in their mother tongue, just to save time. Engaging the students in a learning activity is more important than spending a big portion of time explaining the instructions in English. This will prevent frustration for both teachers and students. As ESL teachers, we need to rethink our practices and review our philosophies of teaching so that it suits the learning situation.

11 Oct 2014     



ELOJOLIE274
France

I totally agree with you Nasreddine. But i know that my pupils hear very little English outside my classroom - even tough nowadays they can watch their favorite tv shows or movies in English with subtitles that s why i tend to explain what they have to do in English and make someone in the class repeat in French what they have to do. it does take a little more time but that way i ensure my pupils hear a lot of English from me and make sure everybody knows what to do (and check their understanding skill: if the task i give them is simple and explained in one short sentence all of my class will be able to explain it in French afterwards...)

12 Oct 2014     



lipofootoo
United States

I wouldn t allow it unless they raised their hand and asked "Teacher may I speak Korean ( insert whatever their native language is)?"

But for that to work well you have to be strict and enforce it. This video on classroom management for kids will help you with that.

29 Oct 2014