(W7) A Webinar on the Use of the Learners’ Own Language in Class: Why, When and How…?

February 12, 9:30 pm

Adobe Connect Webinar (Online)


Adobe Connect Webinar (Online)

Title: The Use of the Learners’ Own Language in Class: Why, When and How…?

Presenter:  Graham Hall

Duration: 60 minutes


The use of the learners’ ‘own’ or ‘first language’ (L1) in language teaching is a contentious issue. It has, until recently, been largely ignored in the mainstream texts and manuals surrounding English language teaching, and it rarely features on initial teacher training courses. Indeed, some institutions ban (or, in reality, try to ban!) L1 use in class. But while ‘professional discussion’ has until recently ignored the issue, own language use has continued in many contexts and classrooms.

However, things are changing, and both the continuing use of the learners’ L1 and the possibilities it offers teachers and learners in the classroom are being increasingly recognised – for example, for teaching the new or target language itself (e.g. explaining grammar or vocabulary); for organizing and managing classroom events (e.g. giving instructions or setting homework); or for developing rapport and relationships within class. And more theoretical work offers us insights into, for example, the use of the learners’ L1 as a learning strategy; for making comparisons and ‘noticing’ how the new language, English, works; and for being the ‘existing knowledge’ onto which new knowledge can be ‘scaffolded’.

Using the learners’ L1 is therefore about much more than ‘just’ translation. But we also need to be careful - L2 input, output and practice opportunities are clearly vital to learning. In this webinar, therefore, we will explore what might be termed the ‘judicious’ use of the learners’ L1, that is, own-language use which is principled and practical. And, as this is an interactive event, I hope you’ll share your own experiences, activities and views.

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