In my guide to English Teaching blog, I’ll be looking at everything you want to know about teaching languages: Classroom management, English for specific purposes, Grammar and vocabulary, Professional development, Teaching approaches, Teaching materials, Teaching skills and Teaching technologies. First up is an article on the use of the mother tongue in the language classroom:
The issue of whether or not to use the mother-tongue (L1) in the English (L2) classroom is a complicated one. Somewhere along the line (probably in the late 1970s or early 1980s) the idea came into fashion that using the mother tongue in the language teaching classroom was a bad thing. Everything should be done in the target language, giving the learners maximum exposure to that language (in this case English). This probably coincided with a time when ELT publishers realized that it would be cheaper to mass produce text books in which all the instructions were in English, and then ship these off to every country in the world.
In Teaching Monolingual Classes (1993), Atkinson offers ‘a careful, limited use of L1′ to help students get the maximum benefit from activities which in other respects will be carried out in the target language. The mother tongue might be useful in the procedural stages of classes, for example:-
• setting up pair and group work
• sorting out an activity which is clearly not working
• checking comprehension
Read the rest of the article at David’s guide to English Teaching.