Guy Cook and Graham Hall
This stimulating seminar puts the spotlight once more on the important subject of L1 versus L2 usage in the English language teaching (ELT) classroom. The speakers refer to this in their study as ‘learners’ own language’ versus ‘the target language’. Their research provides pertinent insight into what is really happening in the ELT classroom, and what teacher educators and materials writers need to know.
Video 1 - Introduction
Video 2 - History of the approach
Video 3 - Background to the research
Video 4 - Data
Video 5 - Further data and conclusions
Downloadable resources and further reading
- Download the print version of these training materials.
- Research paper: 'Own language use in ELT: exploring global practices and attitudes', Graham Hall and Guy Cook.
- Guy Cook, (2010) Translation in Language Teaching, Oxford University Press
- Sheelagh Deller, Mario Rinvolucri, (2002) Using the Mother Tongue: Making the Most of the Learner’s Language (Professional Perspectives), Delta Publishing
- Dr. Isa SPAHIU (2013) Using Native Language in ESL Classroom, IJ – ELTS: International Journal of English Language &Translation Studies Vol:1, Issue: 2.
About this training session / session notes
Session summary and objectives
Who is this seminar for?
- All English language teachers around the world who are interested in the subject of L1 and L2 language use in the ELT classroom
- Teacher educators and pre-service training providers
- ELT materials writers
About the speaker
Before you watch
Consider these criteria: state schools versus private schools, geographical location, language level of students, and teacher experience. Which of these criteria do you think most influences a teacher’s use of the learners’ own language in the classroom?
Real life practice
- to welcome the students into class
- to introduce new vocabulary
- to give instructions
- to explain grammar
- to clarify a point that the learners do not understand
- to maintain rapport and social connection with the students
- to deal with non-English language matters such as student well-being
- Other reasons – add your own suggestions
- Tip one is that there is no right or wrong answer regarding the right amount of own language usage that must be used in the classroom! Each teaching context will be different and it would be naïve to assume there is one right way to do things.
- The rationale for the English language classroom is for learners to learn to use the English language, not to learn about the English language. To achieve this, they must use the target language as often as possible, in a variety of meaningful ways, in order to get sufficient practice and to build their confidence.
- When lesson planning, be very clear to yourself about why, when and how you plan to use the learners' own language in the classroom. Focus on appropriacy and purpose. Pay attention to L1 strategies that you find effective in the classroom and be mindful about those that are not.
- If learners are to become able users of the English language, it is important that they become increasingly less dependent on the use of their own language to communicate. Teachers need to incentivise students to use English and to frequently acknowledge their progress and accomplishments in order to build confidence.
- Teacher educators and teachers trainers now have the incentive and the opportunity to further explore the subject of learner’s own language usage in learning and teaching practice with teachers, be they pre-service, novice or experienced teachers. The aim is to inform best practice in teacher training and teacher development programmes.
Join the discussion
Join the discussion!
Discuss this question with your colleagues, if you can:
It has often been suggested that English language teachers feel guilty about using the learners’ own language in the classroom; that deep down they think they don’t use enough of the target language (English) in their lessons? What is your response to this notion?