Essay Example on The issue of the use of the mother tongue in the EFL classroom. Bilingual Approach and Monolingual Approach


Teacher , Languages









1 Introduction. The issue of the use of the mother tongue in the EFL classroom has witnessed a debate on whether it should be used or isolated. In fact, it has been accepted as a taboo by teachers who supports the idea of English only for many years. Kahraman 2009 says that in spite of the new inclinations about language teaching and learning over the course of the twentieth-century, incorrect presumptions survived deep-rooted in terms of teaching English in EFL classrooms with the idea of English Only and the help of native speaker who is accepted as an optimal teacher of English. From this point of view, some second or foreign language teachers are accepted as the supporters of the Monolingual Approach and Bilingual Approach. 

If a teacher prefers using target language without any mother language word this is called Monolingual Approach and it only permits using target language with four skills. On the contrary ıf, a teacher has doubts about using the mother tongue or use it very judiciously and logically this is called Bilingual Approach. There are monolingual learners who are experiencing learning a new language for the first time and there are bilingual learners who have experienced learning a new language once before.

Teachers should be armed with both the knowledge and skill to be able to manage such heterogeneous classrooms. Bilingual learners usually come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds as compared to monolingual learners and thus may need different teaching methods different tasks, different class activities, and even different assignments. Oxford 1990 believes that teachers should assess their student's strategy use. She adds that strategy assessment can lead to a greater understanding of learning strategies, employed by language learners and better management of teaching activities In this vein, Dujmoviç 2007 asserts that to provide a language learning learners should be exposed to the target language with the help of mother language in terms of getting a successful production. Kreshen 1982 states that the necessity of the use of the mother tongue is very crucial for prosperous language acquisition to get comprehensible input in the ways of beginners.

Turnbull 2001 asserts that in foreign or second language classrooms learner's mother tongue and target language should be used synchronically to provide language acquisition by parsimoniously in terms of time management. Willis 1996 takes consideration to the learners managing communicative function to pronounce the words. She argues that to see more productions of the target language permission about using mother tongue should be given the learners to provide acquisition of the second or foreign language. On the other hand, Hitotuzi 2006 advises that the use of mother tongue should be taken into consideration judicious and limited usage of mother tongue should be allowed in terms of production of the target language Auerbach 1993. Cook 2001 and other researchers state that common and undifferentiated use of mother tongue should not be given permission and limited and logical use of mother language is advised in foreign second language classrooms.

2 Literature Review. A lot of studies have been conducted to investigate the attributions and perceptions towards L1 use in the classroom. Since the debate about L1 use in foreign language classes has gained great attention research studies regarding L1 use in second and foreign language classes are abound in the literature. In his first research, Prodromou 2002 studied with 300 Greek learners to analyze the attributions of the students with different proficiency levels. The results demonstrated that the students of the advanced levels reacted to use of mother tongue but another student had a positive attitude towards the use of the mother tongue. Duimovic 2007 investigated the perceptions of his students and his findings were based on the use of mother tongue in target language contexts with a positive attitude. Schweers 1999 made a research to explore teacher's and learner's perspectives towards the use of L1 in target language classes. He found out that 88.7 of the students who were the speakers of Spanish preferred using mother tongue with the idea of using mother tongue facilitating learning target language. Juarez and Oxbrow 2008 investigated the role of mother tongue use and paid great attention to the translation activities in the classroom's target language context. They believed that translation activities helped learners to facilitate target language learning.

Gabrielotos 2001 conducted a study by observing teachers to see the student's willingness to communicate with the target language. Most of the students asked questions to the teacher with the mother tongue translated all the words in Turkish contexts and they were in the condition of unwillingness. Salı 2014 tried to find out teachers' points of view on the use of L1. The findings explored that the academic functions of L1 use outnumbered the other major functions of L1. One of the most frequently expressed reasons of L1 use was providing explanations. In the same vein, Paker Karaağaç 2015 found that on the purpose of clarifying difficult concepts aims of rapport building and making the word or topic explicit mother tongue was used largely by the instructors. Yatağanbaba and Yıldırım 2015 investigated Turkish language teachers L1 use and found that all the teachers used L1 to diversifying contents in their classrooms. The results demonstrated that the use of the mother language was accepted as a useful tool to provide language acquisition. Nevertheless, teachers made a mention of not to exchange L1 for L2 In his study. Sarıçoban 2010 investigated both the attitudes of university students towards using L1 and why when how much the target language should be used. His results indicated that bulky of the students had optimistic attributions through using Turkish in foreign language classrooms.

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