I would like to ask English teachers from any country your opinion on this topic: which language do you speak more in class? The mother tongue of your students (if you share the same mother tongue) OR English? Do you think it's a good idea to use the mother tongue in class and to what extent?
I am very interested in this issue and I hope this is important to other teachers too. Thank you!
I'm not in favour of banning first languages, as they can be a very useful tool, but if they dom,inate, then studnets are not getting much chance to practise, which is one reason why you come across people who have studied for years but struggle to put a sentence together.
Last edited by Tdol; 13-Jan-2009 at 20:00. Reason: typo
I teach in a school in which the first languages are banned, and I have to say that it's useful. It makes the beginning very difficult, but we have a five minute break every forty minutes, and I'll often stay in the classroom and we'll speak in German (the first language for most of my students) then.
The advantage of the ban, I think, is that it forces the students to try in English first. And, if I do explain something in German, they interpret it as a favor. I'll close the door and the window like I'm afraid my boss with catch me, and I'll give a quick explanation. And the students are very thankful.
I do think that students who get used to the fact that I understand their German don't work as hard, and so there's a definite sense behind the ban: it doesn't prevent it completely, but it avoids making the first language a crutch. Students who have to ask in German are thinking in German, and you can hear it in their English.
I agree with banning of mother tongue. But some slower students would fear speaking - fearing of making mistakes or being humiliated, i think. I do not like the idea of being flexible with the students, as 'suggested' by the country's education policy. It's just that (in my opinion), we need to be focused on what we want to achieve, i.e. excellent in the target language.
I think that being focused on excellence in the language means being flexible with the students. Sure, they learn better when they only speak and hear English--you'll hear no arguments from me--but they don't always know that. And believing that they can't learn is an impediment. So, why not remove it by letting them using their native languages. Also, it's a great way to confirm that a student knows what you're talking about. "What's 'unless' in German?" Then I know if they understand what I'm saying, or if they maybe think it means 'without.'
It definitely depends on the level of the students, but in my classes I try to avoid mother tongue as much as possible. When I started teaching English, I didn't pay too much attention to this fact, but as I got more experienced I understood that this is the best way to make students understand and speak English.
In Smart Center our students get -1 point if they speak in Albanian without permission (our mother tongue), so they know that they have to depend on English to express their thoughts. When I sometimes speak in Albanian my 10-11 years old pupils tell me: "Teacher, minus one point for you!"
Anyway, we use Albanian to translate or interpret and sometimes we are forced to use it also to explain grammar.
I agree with teacher Eriselda :)
of course , we will speak english in class ..
i think its very important for the world and its join to between 2 persons are have spoken in different language..
finally , i want to think for sharing