The Role of L1 in the Instruction of L2: Perspectives of Thai EFL Teachers


The medium of instruction has long been a contentious issue in foreign language teaching. The teacher’s decision about which language should be used to deliver the lesson and interact with the students in the classroom—whether it be the language or languages of the students and teachers or the target language—is not always dependent on existing national or institutional language policies. In countries like Thailand, such policies do not even exist, leaving it up to the teachers to make the decision on their own. This study therefore explores Thai EFL teachers’ perspectives on their practice. Drawing on data from interviews with EFL lecturers at a university in Northeast Thailand, this study found overwhelmingly supportive attitudes among teachers for the use of L1 in teaching English for university students. What is interesting is their reasons, which juxtapose their perceived classroom-specific contextual information with curriculum requirements, all of which make their theoretical self-positioning on the use of L1 in L2 instruction strikingly different from the continuum of perspectives on target language and first language use described in the current literature. This empirical finding allows us to critically discuss theoretical and practical implications for EFL teaching in contexts where English is taught as a foreign language.

Author Information
Chalermchai Wongrak, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2017
Stream: Languages education and applied linguistics (ESL/TESL/TEFL)

This paper is part of the ACEID2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon