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English-only Classrooms

 
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Do you have an English-only classroom?
Yes
42%
 42%  [ 3 ]
No
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Usually
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 7

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crueckert



Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: English-only Classrooms Reply with quote

Hello,

There's a hot debate going on among many ESL teachers, and that is whether we should allow the students or ourselves to speak their mother tongue in the classroom. What's your experience? Do you allow other languages to be used in your classroom or do you have an English-only classroom?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
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Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
www.esl-lesson-plan.com
crueckert@eslemployment.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb
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rhillgeniusesq



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:52 am    Post subject: Usually Reply with quote

Most of my class is done in English, though I translate for the students if they don't understand something and we need to move on for time's sake. I also ask students to help the others if there is a complete communication breakdown.
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IngWen_LaoShr



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 1
Location: taiwan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: english only classrooms Reply with quote

I think for this kind of question it is important to know the teaching context. With different contexts come different answers for different reasons. So, with that in mind . . . I teach English at a college in Taiwan. So, I have an EFL classroom with all students speaking the same language. My students are young adults. My classes are not all "English classes" per se. I teach classes like "Public Speaking" and "TEFL Methods."

I used to STRICTLY be English only. But the longer I teach the less English only my classroom has become.

Now I will use Chinese with my students--especially during breaks to clear things up regarding their assignments or to build relationships.

I also will use Chinese or even a little Taiwanese to help lighten things up a little--like when I make a mistake I will say "oh, excuse me" or "I am SO sorry" in Taiwanese. This makes everyone laugh and we move on.

I translate myself when I am talking about requirements for assignments--especially when I am going over expectations for grades.

Sometimes, I also check to make sure they understand me by using Chinese. After I explain in English, I ask if they understood. If someone says yes, I ask that student to tell me in Chinese what they think I said. This does two things (1) tells me if they got it or not and (2) helps those who didn't get it in English to hear in Chinese the directions one more time.

But, I don't start out using Chinese, and sometimes I don't even tell them I can or do speak it. If they don't know then they will try to be English only too. However, then when they do find out I can speak Chinese they usually get mad because they have been working so hard when they didn't *really* have to.
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crueckert



Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ing Wen Lao Shr (By the way, is that Taiwanese for Yingwen laoshi= English teacher or are you just using a different phonetic system?)

I had the same experience in my Chinese classrooms. Though I can speak a decent amount of Chinese, I decided that I wouldn't let my students know because I felt that when students know I can speak Chinese, they don't feel as motivated to use English when they're speaking to me. I find that if they HAVE to speak English in order to get their points across, they are more motivated (inherently) to use English.

I have also found that when my Chinese teachers spoke English to me in our Chinese classes, it demotivated me and made me feel like we were in an English class instead of a Chinese class. I also found that it was confusing switching back and forth between English and Chinese. I felt more comfortable in a Chinese classroom where I knew that only Chinese would be spoken- as long as it was at my level and I was given time to think about what was going on, of course.

With lower level students, I think it's possible to have an English-only classroom (I've taught that way, and it worked), but I think that some students are the opposite to me- they would prefer some translations every once in a while.

It's not a black and white issue. It really depends on all the different circumstances. What does everyone else think?
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Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
www.esl-lesson-plan.com
crueckert@eslemployment.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb
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annettevartha



Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:23 pm    Post subject: USE OF FIRST LANGUAGE IN CLASS Reply with quote

I only speak English and have students from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Iraq, Iran, Korea, Samoa in my class room. I have found that letting the students talk in their own language to clarify points or to help each other is beneficial. It is very easy to tell whether the students are talking about what is relevant to the lesson - their body language and responses give them away if they aren't on task!!

It really depends on the dynamics of the students themselves whether using their own language is successful or not during lessons. I have found some students abuse the fact they are allowed to speak in their own language and are off-task and therefore have to limit their use of L1 or in extreme cases tell them to speak English only.

I also use other students to interpret for me - particularly in reception classes - to get a concept across.
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Annette Vartha
HOD ESOL
Manurewa High School
Auckland
New Zealand
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