Usage of L1 in L2 Classroom: Beneficial or Hindrance
Role of L1 in L2 Classroom
Since the researches regarding L1 and L2 took a huge escalation the need for acquisition of L2 is becoming a more researched topic. It is considered a social practice that will help L1 speaker to communicate culturally as they belong to a different culture. Especially form an educational perspective.
Acquisition of L2 is much pampered. As it’s a perception that a person with L2 fluency can achieve and grab the better opportunity. It considered as a better learner and flexible as there can store and access information in two languages using both sides of the brain simultaneously.
“Bilingualism makes your brain more healthy, complex and actively more engaged.”
In a war of usage of L1 and L2, there is a huge debate of the use of L1 is either beneficial or hindrance in a class of L2. We’ll proceed the discussion by mentioning the valuable use of L1 in classrooms. Then, downsides of the tradition of L1 in L2 classroom.
Why L1 is Beneficial or Convenient in L2 Class
Bringing the L1 back from exile may liberate the task-based learning approach so that it can foster the student’s natural collaborative efforts in the classroom through their L1 as well as their L2.
- L1 gives L2 learners future career prospects in bilingual language profession.
- L1 is facilitating and obligatory role as it was denoted that L1 in l2 learning is predominantly heuristic and facilitator.
- It also helps in discovery and creation through prior knowledge sometimes.
- L1 acts as a predominantly target language learning resource.
- Use of L1 in class reduces anxiety, builds confidence, enhances the affective environment for learning
- Mostly L1 and L2 are considered interlinked as L1 assist in L2 learning.
- It further helps the learner in protecting and preserving local languages, vocabulary build-up, and natural communication skills.
As a researcher Butzkamm cited;
“The mother tongue is the greatest assets people bring to the task of a foreign language.”
L2 is set to be a global language and has contributed substantially to the growth of countries growth. So excessive use of L1 may affect or can have a significant impact on students, employment prospects when they grow up.
- If L1 is excessively used n L2 class, it may become a hindering or an obstacle in students speaking skills which will automatically leave them an incompetent L2 speaker.
- As in L2 class, the center of focus should be L2. If this forum is followed by excessively speaking of L1, it can affect directly the literacy skills of students.
- If we talk about our class culture, students think in their mother tongue. Then, translate it into English which obviously, makes no sense.
- Using L1 in L2 class is similar to throw out a valid opportunity for communication to save time. It cannot be recommended on any grounds.
- Turnbull puts his opinion against the usage of L1 in L2 class, as he said;
“If teachers are licensed to use the L1 in their teaching, it will result in the overuse of L.”
A significant number of studies have been presented to trace the history of this debate. Also examine the evidence used to support both views. Although many studies have shown that using L1 in classrooms is considered a good method. Just to pave the way for learners to acquire a second language. As it has been mentioned in many studies which claim that the best way to teach L2 is through L2 only. And that the mother tongue should be avoided for better results.
However, as a point of view which is based on the evaluation of each polar in regard of either using L1 in classroom or not. It can be argued that exposing learners to L2 only is the appropriate teaching method for most of learners and in many contexts. Regardless of learners’ purposes to learn L2 to pass certain level or to have it as a life skill. And regardless of the context of learning and teaching. The exposure to L2 only in classroom makes learning profitable, enjoyable and good experience for learners to express their thought in new language.
Also a rational and judicious use of L1 in L2 classes can be advantageous. But for this purpose L1 use must be tuned up with effective target language teaching. It is also taking into consideration the learner’s “Mother Tongue” and cultural background and using them to the best of their interest.
As final remark, future researchers should conduct new studies using a longitudinal method. It must be conducted in various contexts. In order to compare and contrast their results for better understanding of the new attitudes toward the use of L1 and L2 in classrooms. These attitudes must be obtained from students, teachers, curriculum designers, decision makers and the parents of learners.
Written by: Bushra Ghayoor
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