Home » TEFL to Young Learners » When And Why To Use The Mother Tongue In EFL Classes

When And Why To Use The Mother Tongue In EFL Classes

using the mother tongue in EFL classes

Do you think we should exclude the mother tongue from our English teaching completely?

Do you think the mother tongue is useful on occasion, only if we cannot use English or it is a useful and effective resource that we should use frequently to facilitate the learning of English?

Definition of the Mother Tongue

It is any language that the learners have learned during childhood.

What Research says

The majority of EFL teachers use the learners’ mother tongue in class and the learners themselves use their mother tongue frequently in class. However, most teachers know little about how, when and why to use the mother tongue in their teaching English as a foreign language.

Two Key Questions to Discuss

  1. When should and when shouldn’t you use the mother tongue and why?
  2. How can you use it?

You Shouldn’t Use the Mother Tongue When You:

  • Are giving instructions.
  • Use classroom language, e.g. Good morning, Sit down, etc.
  • Teach new vocabulary.
  • Teach speaking practice activities.
  • Allow the learners to do grammar exercises in pairs.
  • Do a translation activity with students from the mother tongue to English.

You Should Use the Mother Tongue When You:

  • Are giving instructions to do a complex or a new activity?
  • Want to check that students understood your explanation when teaching new vocabulary.
  • Teach very difficult words, especially abstract words and can’t find a picture or ask a CCQ to check the meaning.
  • Tell the students the difference between the mother tongue and English.
  • Explain a grammatical item that has no equivalent in the mother tongue.
  • Allow the learners to take notes about a grammatical or a vocabulary item especially when they are comfortable with that or when the item is difficult.

To learn more about using the mother tongue in EFL classes, click:

When to Use Students’ Mother Tongue in EFL Classes

If you think there are more cases for using or not using the mother tongue, let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Thanks For Reading

Liked This Article?

Share It With Your Networks.

You can also join my email list not only to be notified of the latest updates on elttguide.com but also to get TWO of my products: Quick-Start Guide To Teaching Listening In The Classroom & Quick-Start Guide To Teaching Grammar In The Classroom For FREE!

Join My Email List Now (It’s FREE)!

Want to Continue Your ELT Professional Development?

I offer various ELT publications on teaching English as a foreign language. 

In these publications, I put the gist of my experience in TEFL for +20 years with various learners and in various environments and cultures.

The techniques and tips in these publications are sure-fire teaching methods that worked for me well and they can work for you, as well, FOR SURE.

Go ahead and get a look at these publications to know more about each one of them and the problem & challenge each one focuses on to overcome.

Then, you can get what you have an interest in. It is very easy and cheap. You can afford it and you’ll never regret it if you decide to get one of them, FOR SURE.

Now, click to get a look at my Publications

P.S. This post was proofread by Grammarly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*
*