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Just using L2 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:02 am
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Post Just using L2
I have tried to use only English with my students but I found it impossible!

In some groups the reaction is that students keep quiet and do not participate. So, I think it is useless speaking to them all the time in english because they can't understand me no matter how hard I try.

Is there anyone of you who is able to develop the lessons just using English? How do you do it?


Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:36 am
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Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:38 pm
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Don't really know if all of you would agree....English alone will get them scratching their heads and then...sayonara. I normally use their mother tongue to start off and try my utmost best to translate it to English...just to get them to understand and slowly but surely, they will start to converse.


Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:11 pm
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How you achieve the goal depends a lot on the age-group, but you can teach virtually any group without resorting to L1. It has taken a lot of time to learn the skills needed to do it, but it can be done. Probably the best advice is to keep trying, keep experimenting and you will find your own ways of connecting with your classes without speaking their language.

A few things that might help you, though...

Starting with the obvious, gestures, pictures and other visual keys are extremely important. Never say "I" without pointing to yourself until you are certain your entire class understands what you mean. Exaggerate everything, be a drama queen and, when you come to something that you can`t act out, illustrate it. I`m no artist (really, I suck) but I learned to draw quick illustrations when they were necessary.

Another thing that is important is to use lesson content that your students can relate to. When I first noticed it, I was surprised at how much of a difference this made. It seems obvious when I write it, but students are really much better equipped to make the cognitive leap required to understand things when they can relate to the subject matter.

Try to develop a routine in your lessons. To begin with, they will understand the routine but, as they progress, they will begin to understand the associated language. Once this happens, you can expand on your routine. Doing things this way will also take a lot of stress off of your students.

Again, you need to develop your own strategies that work with your unique classes, but these ideas should help you--just don`t give up.

damon


Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:16 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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Damon is right on and I do pretty much what he said. As a teacher it's very easy to give up and translate using L1. If you do though it sends the message to the students that they can as well or that there are just somethings they can't understand and L1 is OK. So, you need to be firm and steadfast with the rule as well.

One other thing you might want to think about is that it will take time. There's a peroid of confusion and a silent period you need to factor in. Basically you need to be OK with them making mistakes in their attempts to grasp meaning and so do they. They don't need to understand everything and if they make mistakes, oh well. They learn more that way anyway. In time, they will learn to be better learners. It's hard going for a while but it's really great to have some trained meaning-guessers.

However, there's nothing wrong with using L1. There's a lot of research that shows how positive support in L1 can be. It all depends on how you do it.

Like Damon said you need to find a way that suits you and the class. If you want to go the way of no L1 then keep at it. You'll find a way to do it.

_________________
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Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:49 pm
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If I can add one more thing...

When students begin to attempt to speak, it is important that the students are encouraged and made to feel comfortable speaking. Correcting their mistakes comes a very distant second to encouraging fluency. When your students make a mistake, the best reaction is to continue as if nothing was wrong but model the mistake correctly. For example:

Student: What this?

Teacher: What are these? They are keys.

Students are given immediate feedback without being made to feel self-conscious about speaking.

damon


Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:24 am
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Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:51 pm
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I agree that you can make significant progress using just L2. I teach in a kindergarten now and I have a Korean teacher with me in each class. I don't speak enough Korean to explain every lesson to them in their L1 so I am working hard to establish an L2 only class. I have to really encourage the teacher to not join in or feed Korean words to the kids as when I started here a couple of months ago they were really dependant on her to get them a pencil if I asked them to use a pencil, or eraser, or even to go to the bathroom.
After a couple of months I can see a huge change in the kids, they now are attempting to converse with me during class and even clarify the activity or worksheet exercise with me rather than rely on getting the information handed to them in Korean.

It does take a while and you have to be patient and be prepare to simplify everything if you are getting blank stares. Be prepared to devote lessons to "classroom etiquette/language" so they recognise what is meant by "stop, be quiet, open your books etc ,...." Consistency is important too; hand gestures to accompany instructions, such as "tell me", "speak louder", "give me", "show me" eg have to be the same every time you use the language to avoid confusion and to establish a link for the weaker kids in the action they see and the language they hear. Establishing a classroom environment where the kids feel comfortable to speak is the most important thing you can do (not only with a L2 only class) and give them the space to listen and absorb if they aren't confident to speak out every time.


Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:45 am
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I don't necessarily think using L1 is so bad. For example, when you want to explain a game, it is much easier to make sure they understand the rules and spend precious class time on the target phrases instead.

If you can teach using context, gestures, and props, then great, you don't need to translate. However you would be amazed sometimes to know that students have interpreted it to mean something completely different!
Two or 3 seconds to translate, and then going back to the other methods can make sure everyone is on track.

Once I am reasonably sure that my students understand the concept then I try to be as repetitive as possible adding fun or personal details but moving VERY slowly. When students cannot understand, they start to tune out fast.

Students can learn a lot more that teachers give them credit for,but first they have to feel as though they understand the class.


Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:28 am
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Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:37 am
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I use L1 in my lessons to explain my demands, game rules, to show grammar and vocabulary analogies between the Ls. To minimise using L1 in the classroom I have a Russian-speaking corner in my class. If somebody cannot or doesn't want to express himself in English he is allowed to stand up, go to this corner and say this in Russian. You may imagine how uncomfortable this person must feel all this time. Actially, he/she just falls out of the discussion or other activity. This works well at Pre-Int and higher levels.


Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:54 pm
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I agree with Damon here. Set up is the key to success when strictly using L2 in the classroom, and that may mean a lot of gestures, demonstrations, board work, and repetition. The language structure must also be kept very simple for beginners. Compare: "What I would like you to do next is..." versus "Everyone stand up, turn to your partner, and..." Although the first example feels like a much more natural construction when making a request, the language is quite difficult. Yet out of habit, we can fall into those sentence constructions, particularly in a large class, while planning the next activity, or looking at our notes. Fillers, static, and back tracking also play havoc with a class's ability to understand. Carefully pick the language to use at the lower levels.

Then there is teacher ability with the students' language. Even easy words can carry a lot of nuance which, if translated poorly, may hinder their ability to fully understand the word (or grammar structure). And what if you make a mistake with the translation, giving the wrong meaning entirely?

Lastly, assuming students don't have the opportunity to speak English on a daily basis, explaining activities, expectations, etc. wholly in L2 is just one means to demonstrate *real* language. When a student understands what is expected, and then can communicate, it affects his/her interest and motivation positively.

Chris Cotter
www.headsupenglish.com


Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:15 pm
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Wow this is a very weird thread for me.....I work in Turkey and the policy here, whether in a language school or a private primary-high school, is that the aim is to recruit "native speakers" who DON'T speak Turkish. So we go in to the classrooms specifically only speaking English....and the Turkish English grammar teachers are expected to not speak Turkish in the classroom either. ha ha.

So I've never had the luxury of being able to resort to L1 when I can't get my ideas or points across. I have no choice but to make my mind known to them, and it always works out. You can use miming, mimicking, all kinds of things.


Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:02 pm
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
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I just came across this paper on this topic

see http://www.jalt-publications.org/tlt/ar ... /02/barker

here is a part of it

Quote:
There has been a gradual move over the past few years away from the "English only" dogma that has long been a part of the British and American ELT movement. There is now a great deal of research that supports the use of the students' first language in the classroom. Auerbach, (1993, p.9) concludes from her research that the evidence "suggests that the rationale used to justify English only in the classroom is neither conclusive nor pedagogically sound." Although this quote refers to ESL, I would argue that it applies equally to the EFL classroom. Furthermore, many have argued against the "English only" dogma on the grounds that it only ever became so widely accepted in the first place because it made things easier for teachers and publishers. As Swan (1985 part 1, p.85) pointed out, "this (dogma) has made it possible for us to teach English all over the world without the disagreeable necessity of having to learn other languages."

In spite of the fact that a great deal of research has suggested that the students' L1 can actually be a useful tool in the classroom (e.g. Atkinson (1987), Ogane (1997), Burden (2000, 2001), Weschler (1997), Cole (1998)), many still persist with "English only." Of course, arguments in favour of this approach hold a lot more water when they are made by teachers who have the ability to compare different teaching methods. While there are many monolingual teachers in Japan who advocate "English only," it is surely not logical to argue that something you have experience of is more or less effective than something of which you have no experience at all.


Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:11 pm
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Well, I teach English as a foreign language in a private school in Venezuela, where the mother tongue is Spanish, but the policy of our school is not to use Spanish at all during English class, so for 10 years I have taught English , speaking English, once you get used to it, it gets easier, of course as Stella says, you have to use a lot of mimics, acting, jumping, standing on the desk, etc....
Suggestions, when you r course begins, stablish rules and prize the ones who are doing the effort to use the English to communicate. Always use English, if you need to solve another type of problem, behavior perhaps, it is better that you call that person and talk to her/him in the mother tongue, but only to that person, and not too loud, so the rest of the group, won't listen to you.
The first day when you begin using only English in class, of course the students always are going to try make you repeat in Spanish, because they feel lost, well don't let them succed on that, keep using English, and using all the tricks as possible and being really pacient you will see how the will begin to accept and understand. It is not easay, but it is really possible.


Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:45 pm
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The article that Kiwione posted the link for is interesting but the author David Barker`s main point is that "arguing that L1 has no place in language learning is not the same thing as arguing that there is no need for the teacher to learn it."

I see plenty of need for the teacher to speak the language of the students but it can negatively effect the learners` progress. There are many different stakeholders whose goals that need to considered. Here are some reasons for using L1:

    Some learners are not interested in learning English--for them the language class is a social activity. If these are adult learners and you over-do the content of your class, they will just take their business elsewhere.

    Some younger students can say very nasty things to other students--you need to provide an classroom environment safe from abuse.

    Medical emergencies.

    With very young children (I taught five years of kindergarten) your students are still learning very basic social rules--the last thing they need is to be further confused by a teacher who can`t help them understand.


Having said that, my experience has been that students, and teachers, will take the easy way out of a situation and that easy way usually means asking and answering questions in L1. In my experience as a language learner, and I have learned several, I retained the language that I used much better than what I was merely taught. When teaching in a foreign country your students main opportunity to use their English skills will, in most cases, be in your classroom.

I think it is in your students best interest to learn how to teach without using L1 before making the decision to allow L1 use. If you haven`t tried teaching this way, or simply gave up too quickly (it is difficult) you really won`t know what your students are capable of.


Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:31 am
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I think that we also have to take into account the amount of hours we can dedicate to teach English.
In Spain we just teach three hours per week, and with the younger ones, just one hour per week!! I think it does not help to be able to teach all the time in English, because from one week to another they forget everything and it seems to you that you are wasting your time.
With the younger ones (from 3 to 8 years old) it would be great to do a bit of English every day, then talking in English all the time would be worht it, but if you just have one hour, you make your best for them to understand you but you feel dissapointed the following week... I don't know what I should do...


Fri May 11, 2007 11:46 pm
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I try to use English as much as possible, but that's not real at all. My students (just some of them, of course) like to comment in L1 or simply talk about something else in L1. That's why I prefer to say something in English first, and immediately after that translate it into L1. Surely, I won't translate if I see that they understood at first, that wouldn't make sense, would it?


Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:30 pm
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