An Investigation into the Teachers’ Use of L1 in EFL Classes

Keywords: The mother tongue (L1), The target language (L2), Monolingual view


In many countries where English is used as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL), the classroom is the main context for students’ exposure to the target language (L2); however, English teachers have a tendency to use the mother tongue (L1) excessively. As a result, the appropriate use of L1 in language classrooms remains as a major problem. This study investigates Turkish EFL teachers’ perspectives on the use of L1, and functions that the teachers’ use of L1 serves in foreign language classrooms. Mixed method research design was adopted using a questionnaire and semistructured interviews. English teachers (n=43) responded to the Use of L1 Questionnaire and semistructured interviews were held with eight volunteer teachers working in Beyza private schools in a province in Turkey. Quantitative data from the Likert scale questionnaire items was analysed using descriptive statistics to reveal frequency, mean and standard deviation scores, and inductive content analysis was applied for the analysis of qualitative data. The findings have demonstrated that most teachers avoid or limit the use of L1 systematically and give priority to using L2 in EFL classrooms. Findings also suggest that L1 can be used as a facilitating tool for explaining difficult grammar and vocabulary items, managing classrooms, giving instructions, checking for comprehension and establishing a friendly classroom environment.

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How to Cite
Tanrıseven, U., & Kırkgöz, Y. (2021). An Investigation into the Teachers’ Use of L1 in EFL Classes. Shanlax International Journal of Education, 9(S2-Sep), 125-131.