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C HALLENGES OF USING EMI R E - EXAMINING L 1 USE IN THE CLASSROOM S TUDENTS ’ PERSPECTIVES Mouhamad Mouhanna TESOL Sudan 26 th Feb 2015 UAE University,

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Presentation on theme: "C HALLENGES OF USING EMI R E - EXAMINING L 1 USE IN THE CLASSROOM S TUDENTS ’ PERSPECTIVES Mouhamad Mouhanna TESOL Sudan 26 th Feb 2015 UAE University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 C HALLENGES OF USING EMI R E - EXAMINING L 1 USE IN THE CLASSROOM S TUDENTS ’ PERSPECTIVES Mouhamad Mouhanna TESOL Sudan 26 th Feb 2015 UAE University, UFP mmouhanna@uaeu.ac.ae

2 Q UICK Q UIZ 1. Does your institution tolerate some L1 use in your EFL teaching? Y N

3 Q UICK Q UIZ 2. In your classroom do you allow the use of L1 by students? Y N

4 Q UICK Q UIZ 3. Should students’ opinions be reflected in educational policy? NY

5 Q UICK Q UIZ 4. In your opinion, does the English only EFL Classroom really exist? Y N

6 I NTRODUCTION Despite recent studies illustrating the value of limited L1 use in the classroom, it is still discouraged by most EFL institutions. Based on a set of student data we will explore the potential role of L1 in EFL teaching.

7 D URING THIS SESSION WE P LAN TO : 1. Explore the prominent views regarding the use of L1 in the literature. 2. Report on the findings of a small- scale research project about university students’ perceptions of the role of L1 in the EFL classroom 3. Investigate the rationale for discouraging L1 use in EFL tertiary programs

8 L ITERATURE R EVIEW R ECENT STUDIES OPPOSED TO THE E NGLISH ONLY POLICY HAVE BEEN BASED ON : 1. Critical explorations of the English only axiom 2. Studies on cognitive and multilingual functioning that demonstrate the collaborative interaction between L1 and L2. 3. The role of L1 in L2 learning based on a Vygotskian socio-cultural framework

9 1. C RITICAL E XPLORATIONS OF T HE E NGLISH ONLY AXIOM : Phillipson (1992) challenges the belief that ‘English is best taught monolingually”, as a fallacy rooted in colonialism. It facilitates the way for another fallacy namely “the ideal teacher of English is a native English speaker”. This fallacy helps to absolve NESTs from needing to learn or learn about their students’ L1 (p.192), and subsequently supports NESTs’ dominant status. Disempowers the L1 ‘The ethos of monolingualism implies the rejection of the experiences of other languages, meaning the exclusion of the child’s most intense existential experience” (p.189).

10 1. C RITICAL EXPLORATIONS OF T HE E NGLISH ONLY AXIOM : Auerbach’s (1993) arguments follows a similar vein, and details U.S. based studies where the L1 was effectively incorporated in ESL learning. EFL policy’s approach towards L1 is all or nothing, has ideological roots, with limited backing from research Her study, she asserts ‘It reduces anxiety and enhances the affective environment for learning, takes into account sociocultural factors, facilitates incorporation of learners’ life experiences, and allows for learner- centered curriculum development. Most importantly it allows for language to be used as a meaning- making tool and for language learning to become a means of communicating ideas rather than an end in itself’ (p.20).

11 2. S TUDIES BASED ON COGNITION AND MULTILINGUAL FUNCTIONING Storch and Wigglesworth ‘s (2003) study demonstrates that L1 provides ‘cognitive support’ during language analysis and in the completion of cognitively demanding tasks. It allows students to work at cognitively higher levels and may be a normal psychological process’ (p.768). Herman et al (1998) question whether language learners should be expected to or are even capable of suppressing L1 during L2 retrieval tasks. Scott and de la Fuente (2008) conclude that students not permitted to use L1 during a grammar peer activity displayed reduced and fragmented levels of interaction, imposing difficult cognitive demands, which will “hinder the use of class talk, and impede ‘natural’ learning strategies”.

12 3. T HE ROLE OF L1 IN L2 LEARNING BASED ON V YGOTSKIAN SOCIO - CULTURAL FRAMEWORKS Studies within a Vygotskian socio-cultural framework highlight the scaffolding role that L1 plays in the production of L2 particularly in peer work. In a study based on collaborative writing tasks where students used L1, Anton and DiCamilla (1998) found the L1 moved learners through their zone of proximal development and played a ‘strategic cognitive role in scaffolding’ (p. 319).

13 H OW MUCH L1 IS TOO M UCH ? Although the literature supports L1 use, it does not support its random use (Wilkins 1974, Atkinson 1987, Mai-ling 1996, Scott De la Fuente 2008) Mai-ling (1996) highlights that teachers need to ensure that there is critical reflection around the ‘sensible’ use of L1 in the EFL classroom Atkinson (1987) supports a productive use of L1 (5%)

14 R E - EXAMINING L 1 USE IN THE CLASSROOM S TUDENTS ’ PERSPECTIVES

15 R ATIONALE L1 is considered by some teachers as a hindrance, while others view it as a beneficial tool in EFL teaching. Students’ perceptions regarding this pedagogical question however, is often overlooked.

16 R ESEARCH Q UESTIONS What are students thoughts about the use of L1 in the classroom? What were students’ previous experiences in the high schools? Do the opinions of students at the different English levels vary? What is the policy regarding the use of L1 in the classroom and what is their rationale?

17 M ETHODOLOGY A Quantitative and Qualitative (mixed method) study based mainly on survey findings. A survey for students was designed with Likert 5 point questions. Interview with the Head of a tertiary English foundation program

18 P ARTICIPANTS Survey respondents were 124 new students from Beginner Level (40) Intermediate Level (46) Advanced Level (38). All the students were female The Head Of the English Program in a tertiary institution

19 D ATA A NALYSIS SPSS Basic Descriptive Statistics (means etc.). Independent Samples T-Test to Identify Areas of Interest and trends Trends/ patterns to be explored in depth through the open ended questions

20 R ELIABILITY T EST SPSS determined. Cronbach's Alpha =0.612. Reliability Test valid. Survey answered Valid and not at random

21 Statistical Results

22 S URVEY Q UESTIONS Do you think the use of Arabic in the classroom helps you learn English? 1. هل تعتقد أن استخدام اللغة العربية في الصف يساعدك على تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية؟ Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree StronglyDisagree أرفض بشدة أوافق لا رأي لي أوافق أوافق بشدة Do you think the use of Arabic in the classroom helps you learn English better? 11. هل تعتقد أن استخدام اللغة العربية في الصف يساعدك على تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية بصورة أفضل؟ Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree لا ( بالتأكيد ) لا لا رأي لي نعم نعم ( بالتأكيد )

23 R ELIABILITY T EST Levels q1q11 level 1 Mean 2.051.73 level 2 Mean 3.132.60 level 3 Mean 3.032.71

24 Statistical Results Do you think the use of Arabic in the classroom helps you learn English? 1. هل تعتقد أن استخدام اللغة العربية في الصف يساعدك على تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية؟ Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree أرفض بشدة أوافق لا رأي لي أوافق أوافق بشدة There was a significant difference between the Level 1 (n=2.05)and Level 2 (n=3.13) And also a significant difference between level 1(n=2.05) and level 3 (n=3.03)

25 S TATISTICAL R ESULTS Do you like your teacher to use Arabic in class? 2. هل تحب أن يستخدم مدرسك اللغة العربية في الصف؟ Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree أرفض بشدة أوافق لا رأي لي أوافق أوافق بشدة No significant differences between the 3 levels however means increase with level. Level 1 (n= 2.38) Level 2 (n=2.93) Level 3 (n=3.11)

26 D O YOU THINK A RABIC SHOULD BE USED BY THE STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM ? 7. هل تعتقد أن اللغة العربية يجب يستخدمها الطلبة في حصص اللغة الإنجليزية؟ S TRONGLY A GREE A GREE N O O PINION D ISAGREE S TRONGLY D ISAGREE أرفض بشدة أوافق لا أوافق لا رأي لي أوافق أوافق بشدة There was a significant difference between Level 1 (n=2.30)and 2 (n=3.61) also between level 1(n=2.30) and level 3 (n=3.29) no sig difference between level 2 and level 3

27 W HAT PERCENTAGE OF THE TIME DO YOU THINK A RABIC SHOULD BE USED IN THE E NGLISH CLASS ? C HOOSE ONE. 8. ما النسبة المئوية التي تعتقد أنه يجب استخدام اللغة العربية فيها في أثناء حصص اللغة الإنجليزية؟ (50% أو أكثر ) 20% 10% 5% 0% The lower level learners prefer more Arabic in the classroom Level 1 n=3.67 Level 2 n=3.07 Level 3 n= 2.79

28 W AS A RABIC USED IN THE CLASSROOM WHEN YOU WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL ? Out of 124 students: 13 students answered No 10% 111 answered Yes 90%

29 Q UALITATIVE R ESULTS FROM STUDENTS

30 SAMPLE RESPONSES: LEVEL 1 S TUDENTS I S THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE USE OF A RABIC IN YOUR E NGLISH CLASSES IN SECONDARY SCHOOL AND YOUR UNIVERSITY CLASSES ? نظرا لأن في المرحلة الثانوية المعلمة عربية و لكن في الجامعة المعلم إنجليزي مختلفون في الحروف و السرعة. In high school teacher is Arabic, and in University the teacher is English they differ in their letters and speed. عندما كانت المعلمة تشرح لنا قواعد اللغة الإنجليزية باللغة العربية كنا نفهم ما تقول أما الآن فصم بكي عمي فهم لا يسمعون. When the teacher used to explain English grammar through the Arabic language we were able to understand but now we are ‘Deaf, dumb and blind.’

31 SAMPLE RESPONSES: LEVEL 2 S TUDENTS I S THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE USE OF A RABIC IN YOUR E NGLISH CLASSES IN SECONDARY SCHOOL AND YOUR UNIVERSITY CLASSES ? لأن الإنجليزية مطلوبة في الجامعة أكثر من المدرسة. English is required more in the university than the school. في المرحلة الثانوية كانت تشرح باللغة الإنجليزية بعد ذلك تعيد الشرح و تستخدم بعض الكلمات العربية حتى نتمكن من الفهم الجيد. At the secondary level, the teacher explained in English, then re-explained by translating some of the words into Arabic, so that we would gain a better understanding.

32 SAMPLE RESPONSES: LEVEL 3 S TUDENTS I S THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE USE OF A RABIC IN YOUR E NGLISH CLASSES IN SECONDARY SCHOOL AND YOUR UNIVERSITY CLASSES ? “There is the same because our teacher in the high school always used English only in the class because that was helpful for the student to overcome the challenges of talking in English”. إن كنا نفهم الإنجليزي باللغة الإنجليزية، يجب على المعلم أن يستخدم اللغة الإنجليزية. If we are to understand the English language, the teacher must use English.

33 H OW DO YOU FEEL WHEN THE TEACHER USES A RABIC IN THE ESL C LASSROOM ? L EVEL 1 RESPONDENTS أشعر بالراحة و أحس بأني في بلادي حيث يمكنني الحديث باللغة العربية بطلاقة. “I feel comfortable in my country where I can speak Arabic”. بسهولة وصف ما أريد الحديث عنه و فهم ما يطلبه المدرس بدقة. “Easily describe what I want to talk about and understand what the teacher requests”.  “When I speak Arabic with my English teacher sometime I feel comfortable and confident because I sure my sentence is good and I sure my sir not comment for my sentence”.

34 H OW DO YOU FEEL WHEN THE TEACHER USES A RABIC IN THE ESL C LASSROOM ? L EVEL 2 RESPONDENTS “I can feel sometimes comfit win I speak English but not always I come her to learn not Arabic and I want to improve my language so I have to speak English but sometimes I like to speak to understand or to fun”. أشعر بأن المعلومات تتبنى بسرعة و تكون سهلة كثير. I take that information quickly and easily.

35 H OW DO YOU FEEL WHEN THE TEACHER USES A RABIC IN THE ESL C LASSROOM ? L EVEL 3 RESPONDENTS أشعر بأنني لن أتعلم الإنجليزية إذا تحدثت بالعربية في حصص اللغة الإنجليزية. I feel that I will not learn English if the teacher speaks Arabic. أشعر و كأنني في حصة اللغة العربية و أستخدمها للغة العربية في حصص اللغة الإنجليزية لا تساعدنا على تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية ِ I feel like I am in an Arabic class and to use Arabic will not help us to learn English

36 EFL P ROGRAM ’ S POLICY Is there a place for L1 in the EFL classroom?

37 I NSTITUTION P OLICY “Well in general the institution prefers the teachers or expects teachers to exclusively use English only in the classroom”. “A few years ago they had to make it policy that teachers use English only in the class”. (Head of English Program)

38 R ATIONALE FOR THE INSTITUTION ’ S POLICY “It stems from the history of this place. Students in the public school system spent a few years struggling with English and the vast majority of the teachers come from the Middle East. The teachers’ inadequate training and the main problem is that they use a lot of Arabic in the classroom.” “The teachers understand they shouldn’t use it and students can complain about the use of Arabic”. (Head of English Program)

39 R ATIONALE FOR THE INSTITUTION ’ S POLICY “The university made that decision thinking that the use of L1 in the classroom is bad because of the frustration with the experience in the primary and secondary school. This frustration has resulted in them making such decisions that can be extreme without thinking about the pedagogic implications so it’s not the linguist or applied linguist who has decreed this but it’s the local administration who believe that Arabic is the problem.” Head of English Program)

40 S UMMARY OF F INDINGS Level 1 students indicated a higher level of support for L1 (mean: 2.05) use compared to Level 3 students (mean: 3.03). Reports of experiences with learning English at the secondary school level indicate that teachers relied heavily on the use of L1 in their ESL teaching. Most students saw potential benefits for their own use of L1 in their learning, with level one students (2.3) demonstrating more support for this than level three students (3.29).

41 P EDAGOGICAL I MPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY The finding that lower level students who were more likely to support L1 use as a scaffolding tool, indicated that students identified this as an important part of effective learning. Rather than being only an administration policy, students’ opinions regarding this pedagogical tool should also be taken into account in a collaborative decision making process. Teachers should encourage discussion around the role of L1 in EFL learning.

42 D O YOU THINK THE U SE OF L1 CAN HELP STUDENTS ? “If used effectively yes but one can teach English without the use of Arabic” (Head of English Program)

43 S OME FINAL THOUGHTS “How often Arabic should be used in the classroom?” “Rarely about 5% of the time” (Head of English Program)

44 S OME USEFUL REFERENCES Anton, M. & DiCamilla, F. (1998). Socio-cognitive Functions of the L1 Collaborative Interaction in the L2 Classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, 54, 314-342. Atkinson, D. (1987). The mother tongue in the classroom: A neglected resource? ETL Journal, 41, 4, pp. 241-247. Auerbach, E. (1993). Reexamining English only in the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, vol. 27, 9- 32. Schweers, C.W. (1999). Using L1 in the L2 classroom. English Teaching Forum, 37, 2, p. 6-13. Retrieved February 2008, from http://exchanges.state.gov./forum/vols/vol37/no2/p6.htm http://exchanges.state.gov./forum/vols/vol37/no2/p6.htm Storch, N. & Wigglesworth, G. (2003). Is there a role for the use of L1 in an L2 setting? TESOL Quarterly, 37, 4, 760-769. Scott, V. and De La Fuente, M. (2008). What’s the Problem? L2 Learners’ Use of the L1 During Consciousness- Raising, Form focused Tasks. In The Modern Language Journal, 92, 1, 100-113. Storch, N. & Wigglesworth, G. (2003). Is there a role for the use of L1 in an L2 setting? TESOL Quarterly, 37, 4, 760-769.


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