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Should ESL Classes Utilize an English-Only Environment?

 
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Should ESL Classes Utilize an English-Only Environment?
Yes - ALL-English usage is the ONLY way to go.
11%
 11%  [ 1 ]
No - Native language use is a necessary evil.
11%
 11%  [ 1 ]
No - Native language is useful for class administration and instructions.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
How can you build rapport with students if you don’t speak their language?
22%
 22%  [ 2 ]
It totally depends on the students and the situation.
44%
 44%  [ 4 ]
“English-only” is a silly idea that’s simply too difficult to put into practice.
11%
 11%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 9

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ESL-Lesson-Plan Author
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:05 am    Post subject: Should ESL Classes Utilize an English-Only Environment? Reply with quote

From the February 2006 edition of ESL Instruct Newsletter:

Quote:
"The debate about the efficacy of an English-only language classroom vs. regular use of the students’ native language is likely to be ongoing. Perspectives vary, so feel free to not only choose as many of the following statements as you wish, but to elaborate on this topic in the comments section on our blog. Perhaps we can shed some light on the variety of viewpoints. . . "


What do you think? Why not answer this poll so that we can all see where this issue stands for readers of ESL-Jobs-Forum.

I look forward to finding out how the results of this poll turn out.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 263
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the discussion is on ESL classes - those in English speaking countries with a variety of student L1s - then it simply must be an English-only environment.

If the discussion is about EFL classes - those taught abroad, in countries where English is a foreign language - then I think some leniency in L1 use is certainly called for.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that clarification, Guy...a very important one indeed...

I see the distinction, and I agree...

Cheers!
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HenryTeach



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'd go with Guy on this one. Using the MT in the classroom when there's no alternative is often easier and more efficient in the EFL classroom, especially when dealing with new learners.

I wouldn't say it's a "necessary evil" but rather it's an occasional useful tool though.

Of course (making a gross generalisation) most EFL classes tend to be monolingual and most ESL classes tend to be multilingual so there's no option to speak anything but English in an ESL class.
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HenanMike



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy suggests that there should be "some leniency" in an EFL classroom and I wonder what that means. In China, we native English speakers are responsible for spoken English and listening mainly while the Chinese teachers handle the grammar and vocabulary. The amount of Chinese spoken where there is no foreign teacher can get up above 90% and usually does.

Consequently, the students come for oral with a large vocabulary but zero ability to use those words beyond "HELLO!" and a few, stumbling, poorly pronounced and grammatically incorrect sentences.

I am a Canadian and as such had to learn French. We used immersion in the classroom and, accordingly, I can (could) speak French. Canadian children today (NES) can choose to be educated entirely in French and they turn out speaking like natives.

The problem I see with "some leniency" is that it is the thin edge of a wedge and pretty soon...
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 263
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

China is a tough example for me. I teach in Mexico.

When you're working with groups that have a romance language as L1, you get some breaks, particularly with cognates. That aside, I think there is room for using L1 as a basis for comparison in language function, when confirming concept, giving certain instructions, highlighting false cognates, etc. Limited to be sure.

I see how such a thing would be difficult with other languages or language families.
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I again agree with Guy in that it depends on whether it is a mixed class or if they all have the same source language.

I do have to say though, that I think the absolute English-Only idea is really terrible. Refusing to use the student´s native language is robbing yourself of a valuable tool.

I find the best success when I can explain English grammar in the context of their own language.

It really comes down to whether you are designing a program where the students only mimic the teacher, or where they truely learn and understand what they are doing.

Andreas
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