Hi all,

I just wanted your opinions on the use of 1st language in class. I have been teaching Englsh at primary/elementary level approximately 3 years and it always appears a no no with teachers and parents. They all use basically the same line as if they have lifted it from the same bible and the utterance of any of the native tongue is basically the reason why kids don't speak like a native English speaker within 5 minutes of being dropped at their first kindergarten lesson!

Personally, I think it's important that the children understand what they are learning and in context. Furthermore, I have noticed many activities that are explained by the Asian teacher get a far better emotional response and positive reaction from the kids than when I explain it and they only grasp 2 slices of the pie rather than the whole dessert.

A further point was a case last week in one of my primary 5 classes. We were practicing the phonics blend 'ng' and some of the kids were struggling with it so In my limited written language ability with their native tongue I wrote the exact same sound on the board. Instantly the whole class errupted in cheer and they had all instantly pronounced it 100% correctly. It appeared to me they actually appreciated the fact I was trying not just to preach superior English and culture of the west (that all too often comes over with many teachers) but that I was actually trying to learn their language and was relating to the difficulties that they have with my own. There was a huge difference in positive energy for the rest of the lesson from this one moment and the kids had a much higher concentration level throughout.

I'm not for a moment advocating a huge 30/40- 50/60 % ratio but I do like input from my co-teacher and feel their involvement greatly helps. I will also continue to use this approach unless there is huge evidence-that this is a sin next to murder!

I would greatly appreciate the input of all of you with great experience such as Cas and your opinions on this as its started to become a drag hearing this all to common moan!