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Language of instruction

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by tb9605, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Good morning.

    I'm sure this must be a reasonably regular debate on here (though having scrolled back through the first 4 pages, perhaps not one that has been raised recently): do you use the target language as the language of instruction?

    In your view, what are the pros and cons of both approaches?

    [Context if you care: I'm an English teacher who has taught in both the UK and abroad. I've always used English as the instructional language even when I've had a class that had 0 native speakers in it. I currently find myself mentoring a German teacher. She is not a native English speaker and neither are 95% of her students - yet she is using English as the instructional language. My instinct is to advise her to make the transition to using German as the instructional language.]
  2. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I'd advise using the mother tongue of the learners to explain new MFL grammar etc. The MFL could also be used to do the same if the level of the students is good enough.

    Where the learners have different mother tongues, the common denominator may have to be the language being studied, with lots of examples of correct usage being presented to help with understanding of the point being made.
    Idiomas11 likes this.
  3. Idiomas11

    Idiomas11 Occasional commenter

    I tend to teach in English (my mother tongue and that of most of my students) when I am explaining grammar (particulary if it is quite complex) but classroom commands and basic instructions (on va traduire, vamos a hablar) are all done in TL
  4. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your replies. What about the situation where the students don't share a common mother tongue?

    That's the situation here - the language being learned is German, the teacher is German, most of the students are Spanish (though not all - significant numbers of other nationalities, especially from Eastern Europe, not all of whom speak either English or Spanish well), yet general practise in the school has been to use English as the language of instructions. Is it just me that finds this non-sensical?
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    If there are English speakers in each national group, they could translate for their fellow nationals, I suppose.

    If that is not the case, it would appear best to use TL as the language of instruction, with lots of examples of the language structure being taught to reinforce things for those who cannot follow explanations yet.
    Idiomas11 likes this.

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