Exploring The Pros And Cons Of Using Student's First language In EFL Classroom

23rd January 2024

English is one of the widely spoken languages in almost every country. The English language has become the one key factor for every individual to succeed in any field of career. According to preply.com survey, it has been found that most people around the globe suggest that schools must teach English to students whose first language is not English.

English language
Source: preply.com

Learning a new language like English is not an easy task for non-native-speaking students. However, EFL teachers can consider using students’ L1(native language) in the EFL classroom to make the English language learning of students easier.

Moreover, there’s a huge debate about whether using the first language L1 of students is a good idea or should be completely excluded from the EFL classroom.

In this blog post we will be learning about this confusion and we will share the benefits and effective easy-to-integrate L1 language of students in the EFL classroom to make their learning process easier.

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So, without any further delay, let’s get started.

Problem With Teaching English Using Student’s First Language (L1)

Learning a student’s native language may seem to be an idea that you think can give you an edge, but if you start to teach English in their native language then it does not benefit students, educational institute employers may seem to no benefit in hiring you, and they may let you go as well.

Let’s get to know some of the negative effects if you teach the English language in student's first language:

  • One of the major problems that EFL teachers may face while teaching English students in their first language(L1) is they will start to lose their credibility soon because they are being hired as someone who’s fluent in English and capable of teaching English proficiently.
  • Another major challenge EFL teachers may face while they are teaching English to their students in their L1 language is no matter how many classes they attend they will never get the fluency or confidence to speak English proficiently.
  • If you don’t teach the English language in English then most employers will hire local teachers and even half of the salary you are earning.

Benefits of Using L1 in EFL Classroom

As we have seen earlier, using L1 in the EFL classroom is not a good idea. However, it has several benefits if you use it in one-on-one EFL classes, private tuition classes, or even in a minimalistic way in the EFL classroom as well to make the English language relevant to non-native English speaker students.

Let’s get to know some of the benefits of using L1 in EFL classroom:

1. Ease in Understanding Through Translation

One of the most vital benefits of using L1 with students is you can get the opportunity to check the understanding of language learning progress of every student. Whether you’re planning to teach a new word in English and its meaning or you want to make students understand any concept, L1 can prove to be a useful tool.

2. Improve Language Proficiency

While you are conducting one-on-one classes with students then you can get a better opportunity to understand the students’ English language proficiency and abilities. This will help EFL teachers to teach their students more complex vocabulary and sentences.

For example- You can encourage students to share their thoughts in their L1 language and then encourage them to form the same sentence in L2(English language).

3. Help them To Formulate Sentences For Effective Communication

In many instances, you may find students struggle to form sentences correctly which stops them from expressing their feelings correctly. They always rely on L1 translation or on teachers to assist them in forming their sentences. You can encourage student to think in English and do not feel hesitant even if they are not being able to form sentences correctly. Make them understand that “Practice makes the man perfect”.

4. Utilizing Code-Switching Method

One of the best practices for code-switching in EFL lessons is you encourage students to choose one partner who’s fluent in both their native language and English language as well. They can exchange ideas, and communicate with each other in a multi-lingual way which will improve the overall language learning experience for students.

Benefits of Balancing L1 and L2 Usage in EFL Curriculum

While teaching English totally in the First language (L1) is not a productive idea, EFL teachers can consider using both L1 and L2 language in a balanced way to make the English language learning process easier for students. However, we have witnessed that this method is more effective in one-on-one EFL classrooms but you can consider using L1 in minimalistic easy in EFL classroom classes as well as using L1 to build rapport with EFL students and make their language learning process easier.

So, get ready to teach the English language to non-native English speakers by pursuing a 120-hour international TEFL Certification Course and help them to speak English confidently without relying on their first language.

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Written By : Abhishek

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