Students and Teachers Use of and Attitudes to L1 in the EFL Classroom

| December 25, 2009
Students and Teachers Use of and Attitudes to L1 in the EFL Classroom

Keywords: mother tongue, teacher attitudes, student attitudes, classroom language

Yuri Kim
Renaissance International School in HCMC, Vietnam

Eleni Petraki
University of Canberra, Australia

Bio Data
Yuri Kim is currently teaching Primary EAL and Chinese Mandarin at the Renaissance International School in HCMC, Vietnam. She previously taught Secondary English at The Korean School, also located in HCMC. She has a MA in TESOL and Foreign Language Teaching from University of Canberra, Australia. She is fluent in Korean, English and Chinese Mandarin. She has been teaching English for 9 years in China and Vietnam.

Dr Eleni Petraki is currently a Lecturer in TESOL Education at the University of Canberra, Australia. She has a PhD from the University of Queensland on conversation analysis and her research focuses on language education, intercultural communication and discourse analysis. She has taught English for 15 years in Greece, Vietnam, Australia and UK.

This study examines the students’ and teachers’ attitudes to the use of L1 in EFL classrooms at a Korean School in Vietnam. Little research has been done on English language teaching in multilevel language classrooms in the Asian context. The study employed questionnaires, interviews and observations to obtain the participants’ attitudes to L1 use in three different settings, beginners, intermediate and advanced students. The findings suggest that L1 plays a supportive role in the language classroom, especially in the early stages, and more significantly in reading and writing. Korean students agreed with Korean teachers about the usefulness of L1 while native speaker English language teachers emphasized the importance of using L1 exclusively. L1 was found useful for explaining the meaning of words and grammar explanations but inappropriate in pairwork and groupwork activities. The paper provides recommendations for successful L1 use in multilevel classrooms and suggests that more research is required to shed light on the success of L1 use in multilingual and multilevel language classrooms.

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 11 Issue 4