versão impressa ISSN 1657-0790
profile v.11 n.2 Bogotá jul./dez. 2009
¿Duermes mucho Tony? Interpersonal and Transactional
Uses of L1 in the Foreign-Language Classroom*
¿Duermes mucho Tony? Usos interpersonales y transaccionales de la lengua
materna en el aula de clase de lengua extranjera
Universidad de Guadalajara, México
Universidad de Guadalajara. Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades. Departamento de Lenguas
Modernas. Guanajuato #1049. Colonia La Normal. Guadalajara - Jalisco, México.
This article was received on April 30, 2009 and accepted on June 19, 2009.
Whilst communicative teaching approaches sanction, often grudgingly, the limited use of the students' first language (L1) in English Language Teaching (ELT), critical debate is now centred on a much more substantial and energetic role for the use of mother tongue in the language classroom. Justifications favouring the use of L1 currently range from ideological arguments to classroom teaching considerations. This paper contributes to this ongoing debate by examining how new generations of language teachers in Mexico are using the students' mother tongue, Spanish, not only as a pedagogical tool but to develop and reinforce interpersonal relationships in the language classroom in order to enhance the learning of English.
Key words: First language, critical pedagogy, phatic communion
Mientras que los métodos comunicativos de enseñanza autorizan, muchas veces con poco entusiasmo, el uso de la lengua materna (L1) de los estudiantes del idioma inglés (EI ), un gran debate propone un papel más sustancial y activo para el uso del español en el salón de clases. Actualmente, los argumentos que se muestran a favor del uso de la lengua materna (L1) parten desde motivos ideológicos hasta factores pedagógicos en la enseñanza en el salón de aprendizaje de idiomas. El presente artículo contribuye a este debate en curso examinando la forma en que las nuevas generaciones de profesores de inglés en México están utilizando la lengua materna de sus estudiantes, el español, no sólo como una herramienta pedagógica sino para desarrollar y reforzar las relaciones interpersonales en el salón de idiomas, de forma que el aprendizaje del inglés se vea favorecido.
Palabras clave: Lengua materna, pedagogía crítica, comunión fática
The prevailing debate concerning the utilization of L1 in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom centres more on transactional use in both terms of teaching and learning, rather than possible interactional functions. In this paper, we will briefly summarise the transactional arguments in favour of using L1 before examining its potential interpersonal role in the EFL classroom. To further this argument, we examine the specific case of how teacher trainees, studying for their B.A. in TEFL at a Mexican university, employ Spanish during their teaching practice to establish, maintain and develop classroom relationships with their students.
To undertake this study, we investigated not only teacher trainee attitudes towards the use of the mother tongue in the classroom, but undertook classroom observations to examine if and how Spanish is used in the classroom. The results indicate that whilst teacher trainees claim to adhere to conventional beliefs and practices regarding the use of L1, they are often not aware of their own practices in the classroom.
Three lines of argument have been forwarded in discussing the role of L1 in the EFL classroom. Reflecting the concerns of critical pedagogy, Canagarajah (1999) and Phillipson (1992) claim that the use of English reflects an ethnocentric approach to teaching which puts learners at a disadvantage. From a methodological perspective, Harmer (2007) and Paradowski (2007) claim that the students' first language has a pedagogical role to play in the EFL classroom. Meanwhile, Atkinson (1987) and Prodromou (2002) argue that the use of the mother tongue has practical advantages in terms of classroom management and teacherstudent and student-student interaction.
Arguing from a global perspective, Phillipson attacks "[t]he monolingual tenet which holds that the teaching of English as a foreign or second language should be entirely through the medium of English" (1992, p. 185). Phillipson examines "monolingual fallacy" in terms of beliefs and teaching traditions and argues that such an approach "contributes to the failure of the majority in school and to their exclusion from technical and scientific knowledge" (1992, p. 189). Highlighting three aspects of the "monolingual fallacy", Phillipson claims that the English-only stance ignores the learner's language knowledge, fails to understand the nature of bilingualism and psycholinguistically ignores first-language learning experiences since the foreign-language learner is expected to start with no existing language resources.
Canagarajah argues that the 'monolingual fallacy' has gained so much ground that
It is claimed that an impressive tradition of empirical research confirms the assumption that English should be the sole medium for instruction for non-native students, and that use of their first language should be eschewed at all costs. The belief that use of the learner's native language interferes with the learning of English, and hampers the process of second language development, has now passed into the realms of pedagogical common sense and professional orthodoxy (Canagarajah, 1999, p. 126).
Indeed so overpowering are the claims and assertions in favour of the monolingual fallacy that it is often difficult to even open up a debate on the possible use of L1 in the EFL classroom.
Within pedagogic theory, different approaches, methods and techniques have adopted contrasting positions towards the use of the mother tongue in the ELT classroom. Methodologically, L1 use is almost synonymous with grammar-translation methods since "sentences had to be translated from the target language (L2) back to the students' first language (L1) and vice versa" (Harmer, 2007, p. 63). While spurned by subsequent methods such as the direct method and audiolingualism, the use of L1 has featured heavily in more humanistic approaches such as Community Language Learning (CLL) and Suggestopedia since L1 is considered to be a linguistic resource that learners bring to the classroom.
Whilst communicative language teaching (CLT) has long disdained the use of the mother tongue in the FL classroom (Paradowski, 2007, p. 153), proponents of the Lexical Approach, which has emerged from CLT, have argued that "Translation is an instinctive part of the way the mind approaches learning a second language" (Lewis, 1997, p. 60). Emphasising the value of using L1 in the EFL classroom, Lewis asserts that "It is inevitable that language users use L1 as a resource and that they make both helpful and unhelpful assumptions on the basis of their experiences of L1. Sound pedagogy should exploit rather than try to deny this" (1997, p. 64).
In terms of teaching techniques, Atkinson (1987) provides a comprehensive list of reasons for using L1 in the EFL classroom which can be categorised in terms of classroom management (e.g. giving instructions, saving time in unnecessary explanation and discussing classroom procedures) and focusing on the learner (e.g. checking on learning, allowing learners to say what they really want to say and promoting cooperation between learners).
To this list, Harmer (2007, pp. 133-134) adds that L1 use encourages interaction between teacher and students at a basic level, allows learners to talk about learning, and enhances the social atmosphere in the classroom. At a more specific level, Paradowski maintains that use of the mother tongue can be useful in error correction, contrastive grammar and explaining new vocabulary. For instance, Paradowski argues that a contrastive/ comparative approach to pedagogical grammar can help promote TL (target language) grammatical competence (2007, pp. 151-152).
Research has also examined learners' attitudes towards the use of L1 in the classroom. For instance, Prodromou (2002) has investigated transactional motivations for using L1, asking 300 Greek learners if they wanted their mother tongue to be used in the EFL classroom. Whilst generally sceptical over the role of first-language use, students did express limited support for using the mother tongue to contrast L1 and L2 discourse and for explaining new words.
From an interactional viewpoint, Holliday argues that in the strong version of communicative teaching, learners should understand how language works rather than just practising language.
Where there is collaborative work, it is not for the purpose of students communicating with each other, but for the purpose of their helping each other to solve language problems. Therefore, students working in groups or pairs do not have to speak English all the time, making the approach much more manageable in monolingual classes. They can speak in their mother tongue about the text. Indeed, it would be unrealistic to expect them to tackle the text analysis required by language problems in a foreign language (1994, p. 172).
We believe that Holliday appears to stop short: the use of the mother tongue should not solely be seen in terms of transactional/interactional language use between learner-learners but also as a way for teachers to use language to enhance interpersonal relationships and to express their identity in the classroom. As Harmer argues: "It seems highly probable that our identity is shaped to some extent by the language or languages we learn as children" (2007, p. 132). Given the difficulties and challenges in learning a foreign language, it is inconceivable that teachers should want to leave any potential learning resources outside the classroom.
Arguments against the Use of Spanish
Given that this paper examines how the mother tongue can be used in the EFL classroom, we will not spend an undue amount of time reviewing already well-rehearsed arguments in favour of the TL. Instead we invite the reader to examine the arguments summarised in Harmer (2007, p. 134). It should be noted, however, that perhaps the strongest argument in favour of monolingualism is that since the EFL classroom is aimed at promoting foreign language use, the target language should be the classroom language. However, a counterargument is that besides offering an opportunity to use the target language, the EFL classroom is also focused on understanding how language is used. It is debatable whether this task can be carried out effectively only in the target language.
Importance of Interpersonal Language Use
EFL teaching has long focused on the transactional aspect of language i.e. "to get something or get something done" (Nunan, 1999, p. 228). Meanwhile, the interpersonal language dimension has been given less emphasis. Interpersonal language "is produced for social purposes" (Nunan, 1999, p. 228) and involves the establishment, development and maintenance of social relationships or, as Aston argues, "interactional speech is typically employed to negotiate personally-defined relationships – it is the language of making friends" (1988, p. 217).
In the classroom context, teachers are not only interested in teaching the language but also in developing relationships with learners. Teachers may want to create an atmosphere of trust and confidence so that English-language learning can proceed as smoothly and non-threateningly as possible. It may be more expedient to develop this relationship in Spanish, especially at basic levels, because students may not understand its process in English.
We examine the use of interpersonal language in the classroom through the concept of phatic communion because phatic communion reveals not only the transition from non-interaction to transactional talk but also reflects the underlying interpersonal dimension within transactional talk. The term phatic communion was developed by Malinowski who agued that
The breaking of silence, the communion of words is the first act to establish links of fellowship.... The modern English expression, 'Nice day to-day' or the Melanesian phrase, 'Whence comest thou?' are needed to get over the strange and unpleasant tension which men feel when facing each other in silence (1923, p. 314).
Students coming into the classroom need to be helped to overcome the potentially uncomfortable and challenging stage of using unfamiliar language as they are expected to switch from Spanish to English. This transformation can be even more threatening in the English-only classroom.
Laver identified the social function of phatic communion and its various stages which he divided into the opening phase, the median phase and the closing phase (1975, pp. 217-218). Describing the function of the opening phase, he argues that
As a preliminary comment, we might say that the function of the behavioral activity that characterizes the opening phase is to lubricate the transition from non-interaction to interaction, and to ease the potential awkward tension of the early moments of the encounter, "breaking the ice", so to speak, before the main business of the encounter is embarked upon in the middle phase (1975, p. 218).
The opening phase is therefore important in the language classroom, since students transfer from Spanish (or FL non-interaction) to TL interaction.
Laver argues that phatic communion helps interactants establish what Goffman (1959) termed a "working consensus". A working consensus develops as interactants agree on a common framework within which to achieve their communicative goals and thus "involving a degree of mutual considerateness, sympathy and a muting of opinion differences" (1963, p. 96).
Whilst phatic communion in the opening phase has a transitional/initiatory function, Laver argues that it also provides an exploratory function as "it allows participants to feel their way towards the working consensus of their interaction" (1975, p. 221). This "feeling their way" may be achieved more effectively in Spanish rather than in English, especially at basic levels. Laver identifies a third, initiatory function:
[...] in that it allows the participants to cooperate in getting the interaction comfortably under way, using emotionally uncontroversial communicative material, and demonstrating by signals of cordiality and tentative solidarity their mutual acceptance of the possibility of an interaction taking place (1975, p. 221).
Therefore, the use of Spanish has dual roles to play in the English-language classroom in that it signals "sociolinguistic solidarity" (Laver, 1975, p. 227) in that the teacher identifies with the interpersonal feelings of students before and whilst they interact in English.
In order to understand how new generations of teachers approach the use of L1 in the classroom, we examined the attitudes and working practices of 43 students in their second and third year of study for their B.A. in TEFL at a Mexican university. The typical Programa Abierto de Lenguas (PAL) teacher is middle class, female and 18 years old and she learned her English in Mexico.
To achieve graduation requirements for the B.A. in TEFL, second and third year students have to teach English-language classes for four hours a week on a language programme offered to external language students. The PAL programme consists of 8 levels and has a student enrolment of approximately 200. Charging a minimal fee, PAL offers classes to adult students who want to study English but cannot afford market prices charged by private language institutes. Typical PAL students are either 40-year-old middle class housewives who want to study English to learn more about culture or for personal development or 30-year-old workers who need to study English for academic purposes or to get promoted on their job.
PAL teachers, who are supervised by fourthyear students and faculty, are expected to follow a communicative approach although this is not explicitly formulated. PAL student observers reported that teachers are supposed to only use the mother tongue judiciously, and then only in cases of extreme necessity. However, in practice, the teachers' use of Spanish seemed to depend, to a certain extent, on the position and reaction adopted by faculty and fourth-year student observers.
Spending a total of 80 hours, the researchers observed 80 classes on the PAL programme. Whilst PAL student observers examined teaching practice, the researchers examined the transactional and interpersonal use of Spanish. The researchers did not provide any feedback to the PAL teachers that they had been observing, leaving the language classroom as soon as the class was over. Therefore, they did not take part in the formal feedback sessions. Since the PAL teachers are used to being observed by several teachers at a time, we do not consider that the researchers' presence unduly affected classroom teaching practices and the subsequent feedback sessions.
In identifying the use of the students' first language in the FL classroom, we have been pursuing one overarching research question: What is the motivation for teachers using Spanish in the classroom?
In answering this question, we have tried to identify attitudes and actual classroom practices in terms of transactional and interaction language use.
In order to understand teachers' attitudes, we gave a written questionnaire to the 43 teachers (see Appendix 1). The questionnaire elicited teachers' attitudes towards monolingualism in the FL context, their own classroom practices and whether Spanish should have a place in the EFL classroom. In order to triangulate the results, we observed what actually happened in the FL classroom by conducting more than 80 observations over a period of 15 weeks. Classroom observations attempted to identify whether Spanish was used for transactional purposes (e.g. for exemplifying grammar or giving instructions) or for reflected interpersonal motivations e.g. developing and reinforcing interpersonal relationships.
The questionnaires and observations were overseen by three students in their fourth year of the B.A. in TEFL with the underlying premise that PAL teachers would be more open to answer questionnaires prepared by peers and less inhibited in their teaching if they were also observed by their peers. All the participants in the research were asked to sign a consent form authorising the use of information gathered from the questionnaires and classroom observations. They were also given a draft of this paper so that they could freely comment on it and provide feedback.
Observations often took place when the PAL classes were being observed by faculty and fourthyear student observers who gave formal feedback. This fact may have had a negative impact on the number of instances of interpersonal language use in Spanish given that the PAL teachers were aware that their classes should be taught in English. To protect the identity of all participants in the study, all names used are pseudonyms.
Presentation of Results
Participants' professed beliefs, attitudes and values often heavily contrast with actual classroom patterns of behaviour. The following findings summarise teachers' responses and actual classroom practices.
The first two questions probed participants' attitudes towards the use of English and Spanish in the classroom. The results indicate that 28 respondents (65%) said that English should be the classroom language whilst 37 respondents (86%) said that there was a case for judiciously using Spanish. Such findings indicate that PAL teachers do not diligently follow a 100-per-cent only English policy in the classroom.
Question three focused on respondents' own classroom practices by asking whether they ever used Spanish and, if so, whether they felt guilty regarding its use. The purpose behind asking teachers whether they felt guilty about using Spanish was to probe whether they felt they were under pressure to adhere to the English-only precepts of the communicative approach as prescribed on the PAL programme. The overwhelming majority of teachers, 35 in total (81%) said they did use Spanish. Of those, only eight felt guilty about using Spanish. The main justifications for using Spanish were to explain the meaning of new words and clarify meaning.
Questions four and five attempted to differentiate between the PAL teachers' transactional and interpersonal uses of Spanish. On the transactional side, respondents recognised that they principally used Spanish to explain unknown words (33 respondents); explain grammar (30 respondents); and clear up language doubts (29 respondents). The overwhelming number of respondents said that they did not use Spanish for giving instructions (41 or 95%) or for maintaining class control (40 or 93%).
Spanish was used much less for interpersonal reasons and principally to express humour and play with language (23 respondents), to relate to students' learning problems (14 respondents) and to relate students' personal problems (10 respondents). On the other hand, 36 respondents (84%) said they did not use Spanish to express their identity as a person and 34 respondents (79%) said they did not use Spanish in order to identify more closely with students. Whilst Spanish was not used to develop interpersonal relationships, it was used to express humour and to play with language indicating that teachers use the mother tongue to express a lighter side to language learning.
In questions six and seven, teachers were asked to consider an acceptable balance between the use of Spanish and English in the EFL classroom. With regard to basic level EFL classes, 34 respondents (79%) thought that there should be a balance between 90% English and 10% Spanish. At the intermediate level, 30 respondents (70%) argued that the classes should be 100% in English.
In order to understand how Spanish is actually used in the FL classroom, observations focused on both the transactional and interpersonal use of Spanish. Teachers' use of Spanish was extremely judicious and on numerous occasions students were reminded by their PAL teachers to only use English.
Transactional use of Spanish in the classroom largely mirrored the teachers' questionnaire answers. For instance, teachers sometimes explained new words in Spanish. The underlying motivation appeared to be expediency. For instance, during a reading activity, a student asked for the meaning of skeleton. The teacher replied: "It's like in Spanish: esqueleto". The teacher offered a quick translation in order not to interrupt a silent reading activity with an oral vocabulary presentation. On another occasion, during controlled grammar practice, the teacher saved time by explaining an unknown word in Spanish: "goals son... goles". In other cases, the use of Spanish reflected a contrastive angle. For instance, one teacher used Spanish to say: "when you are de acuerdo, you say I agree" in order to highlight the use of the verb 'to agree' in English as opposed to estoy (I am) in Spanish. Sometimes, the use of Spanish was used as a last resort to explain a word as in the case of words such as apostar (bet) and tiempo de vida (life span).
Spanish was occasionally used to give students the necessary knowledge to understand grammatical structures. For instance, one teacher offered "You want to ask what?" as a way to say "¿Qué quieres preguntar aqui?" Another teacher reminded students that 'What number is?' reflects the Spanish construction: "¿Qué número es?" On another occasion, a teacher explained that "I don't know where are my things" reflects the Spanish construction "No sé dónde están mis cosas". Spanish was also used to clear up language doubts. For instance, during free practice, this teacher switched to Spanish:
Teacher: Does anybody need this? [Thinking that nobodyunderstood,] ¿Alguien necesita esto?
Students: Oh... no, we have one. Thank you
The teacher asked "Does anybody need this?" After thinking that nobody had understood what she had said in English, she switched to Spanish: "¿Alguien necesita esto?" The fact that students answered in English indicates that the classroom language was English.
Confirming the questionnaire results, observations recorded no use of Spanish to explain giving instructions or for maintaining class control.
Classroom observation that recorded instances of interpersonal language use contrasted heavily with the questionnaire results.
First of all, it was noticeable that Spanish was used to develop and re-establish interpersonal relationships. At the beginning of class, Spanish was occasionally used phatically with several recorded instances of ¡Hola, Buenos días! (Hello, Good Morning!), ¿Cómo están? (How are you?) and ¿Cómo están ustedes?, reflecting Laver's transitional/initiatory function.
There was also evidence of Laver's exploratory function as teachers asked students what they had done at the weekend as in ¿Qué hicieron el fin de semana? and in the following conversation:
Teacher: What did you do?
Students: A lot of things.
Teacher: cosas sanas lo que quieran [Healthy things – all that you want]
Student: todo es sano... todo es sano [Everything is healthy ... everything is healthy]
The teacher's light-hearted advice signals a humorous use of the initiatory function as participants interact comfortably "using emotionally uncontroversial communicative material" (Laver, 1975, p. 221).
Spanish was the language used to show concern when, for instance, a teacher asked after a student's health "¿Sigues enfermo?" ("Are you still sick?"), or during small talk as in the following extract which takes place before the class begins:
Teacher: Why are you so quiet?
Student Porque tengo sueño maestra [Because I'm sleepy teacher]
Teacher: Oh, are you sleepy? Why? Do you sleep a lot?
Student: What teacher?
Teacher: ¿Duermes mucho Tony? [Do you sleep a lot, Tony?]
Student No teacher es que me levanté a las 6 [No teacher it's just that I got up at six]
Teacher: Did you wake up at 6? Oh... very early!
The teacher uses English as she shows concern for Tony's silence: Why are you so quiet? Whilst the student replies in Spanish with porque tengo sueño maestra, the teacher continues in English. However, Tony does not appear to understand or perhaps he is tired. At this point, expressing solidarity and demonstrating an understanding that the student is tired are more important than conducting phatic communion in English. Therefore, the teacher switches to Spanish with ¿Duermes mucho Tony? After the student replies in Spanish, the teacher switches back again to English.
Spanish was also used during classes to probe students' feelings when, for instance, one teacher asked students how they did with the homework: ¿Cómo se les hizo la tarea?
Confirming the questionnaire responses, teachers also used Spanish to play with language. For instance, one teacher used ¡Duérmanse! (Go to sleep!) when asking his students to close their eyes and think about their last vacations. The use of ¡Duérmanse! conjures up the vocabulary of hypnotizers when trying to hypnotise their audience.
Playing with language also reflected the transfer of cultural concepts from Spanish to English as seen in the following extract:
Teacher: (To a student who just had arrived) Good morning, Sir!
Student: Fine, and you?
Teacher: Just look at me. Like a mango!
In everyday colloquial English, mango has no special significance beyond being a tropical fruit. However, in Mexican Spanish it carries the additional meaning of someone attractive and good-looking and is often used humorously.
It should also be noted that interpersonal language in English was often accompanied by Spanish-language fillers such as a ver and the use of no? at the end of a question as for instance in And Fatima?... yes, no? when asking Fatima if she agreed.
Questionnaires and classroom observation findings indicate that teachers firmly reject the Monolingual Fallacy and the concept of the English-only classroom. The use of Spanish appears to be a fundamental resource in teaching practice within the university PAL programme. At the same time, its use does not reflect any particular ELT approach, method or technique, but appears to emerge out of practical considerations as teachers try to help learners come to terms with the target language.
With regard to the use of transactional language in the classroom, there is a little discrepancy between the teachers' stated beliefs in the questionnaires and actual classroom practices. Teachers basically used Spanish to explain the meaning of unknown words and grammar and to clear up language doubts.
Of more interest is the divergence between professed teacher attitudes and beliefs and actual classroom practices regarding the use of interpersonal language. The phatic use of language – the language of relationships – reflects Laver's transitional/ initiatory function as teachers sometimes greeted students in Spanish, and the exploratory function when teachers asked about students' weekend activities. Furthermore, the initiatory/ solidarity function of phatic communion was evident when teachers asked about the health of their students and problems such as feeling tired. PAL teachers appeared to be seeking out ways to relate to their students and the appropriate means was often provided by Spanish.
In answer to the question regarding the motivation for teachers using Spanish in the classroom, there are two key findings. First of all, teachers use Spanish for transactional reasons and disregard those advocates of the communicative approach who disapprove of the use of the mother tongue. A new generation of teachers in Mexico seems to be taking a much more pragmatic approach towards the use of the mother tongue –an approach that responds to more closely to the EFL classroom context than the precepts of communicative teaching methodologies.
Secondly, often unwittingly, teachers use Spanish for interpersonal reasons to a much greater extent than they themselves realise. Teachers appear to engage in interpersonal language use in Spanish so as to separate English-language teaching and learning from the affective dimension of the EFL classroom. Teachers want to be able to express interpersonal interest and solidarity with their students so that students feel comfortable and at ease. It may be more expedient, to a certain extent, to develop such a relationship in Spanish, especially at basic levels. Further research needs to analyse whether such interpersonal language use could really be carried out just as effectively in English.
When it comes to identifying specific transactional and interpersonal uses of Spanish in the classroom, teachers need to adopt a principled approach to the use of L1 in the classroom since there is a potential danger of indiscriminately using the mother tongue in the teaching/learning context. A principled approach that justifies L1 use (e.g. making students feel comfortable) would, first of all, give the "guilty" teachers a pedagogical basis for using Spanish. Secondly, a principled approach, openly discussed on teacher training courses, would allow teachers to evaluate whether the judicious use of language that stresses relationships (e.g. expressing concern or encouraging students to participate) would help put learners at ease in the classroom. The interpersonal use of L1 that ultimately leads to foreign language use must be an overriding argument against constricting and inhibiting learners by the compulsory use of English.
* This article reports on a research project carried out at Universidad de Guadalajara between October 2008 and April 2009. The project reflects work carried out by el Cuerpo Académico Análisis Crítico del Discurso (UDG-CA-552): LGAC (Contextos Sociales y Discurso Crítico).
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Paradowski, M. B. (2007). Foreign-language grammar instruction via the mother tongue. In B. Frank, J. Darquennes, & R. Temmerman (Eds.), Multilingualism and applied comparative linguistics, 1: Comparative considerations in second and foreign language instruction. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. [ Links ]
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Prodromou, L. (2002). From mother tongue to other tongue. Retrieved on April 15, 2009, from British Council/ British Broadcasting Corporation Web site: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/frommother-tongue-other-tongue [ Links ]
Sandra Higareda is a Mexican EFL teacher with experience in teaching adults, teenagers and children. She is currently completing her B.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at the Universidad de Guadalajara. Her current research interests include sociolinguistics and teaching English as a second language.
Georgina López is a Mexican EFL teacher with experience in teaching teenagers and children. She is currently completing her B.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at the Universidad de Guadalajara. Her current research interests include sociolinguistics, research and teaching.
Gerrard Mugford works at la Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, and holds a Ph.D from the Institute of Education, University of London. His current research interests include critical pedagogy, interpersonal language use, and linguistic politeness.
Name: ____________________________ E-Mail: _____________________________
The following questionnaire examines the use of Spanish in EFL classes.
- Should English be the only language used in English-language classes? Yes__ No__
Please give reasons for your answer: __________________________________________________
- Do you feel that teachers may have valid reasons for using Spanish
in the classroom? Yes__ No__
Please give reasons for your answer: __________________________________________________
- Do you ever use Spanish when teaching in the classroom? Yes__ No__
If you answered yes, do you feel guilty about using it? Yes__ No__
Please give reasons for your answer: __________________________________________________
- As a teacher, do you ever use Spanish in the language classroom to:
Reflect your own teaching methodology Yes__ No__
Explain grammar Yes__ No__
Clear up language doubts Yes__ No__
Explain unknown words Yes__ No__
Give instructions Yes__ No__
Control the class Yes__ No__
- As a teacher, do you ever use Spanish in the language classroom to:
Relate to students' personal problems Yes__ No__
Relate to students' learning problems Yes__ No__
Identify more closely with students Yes__ No__
Express your own identity as a person Yes__ No__
Express humour / play with language Yes__ No__
- What is a good balance between the use of Spanish and English in the basic level EFL classroom?
English 100% Spanish 0%
English 90% Spanish 10%
- What is a good balance between the use of Spanish and English in the intermediate level EFL classroom?
English 100% Spanish 0%
English 90% Spanish 10%