Journal of Basic Education

Using the L1 Sensibly in English Language Classrooms

1996.第6卷第1及2期(Vol. 6 Nos. 1 & 2).pp. 91–99

Using the L1 Sensibly in English Language Classrooms


Mee-Ling LAI(黎美玲)


Even with the belief "Teaching English through English" in mind, teachers in Hong Kong still find it necessary to use their mother tongue to assist in the teaching of English language (L2) because, as they claim, standard of students is low and class discipline is poor. Four pre-service English teacher-trainees were asked to keep journals and do audio-recordings during their 2-month teaching practice period. Each student-teacher chose a particular class at either upper primary or junior secondary levels and kept records for 8 English lessons they taught. The journals kept by the diarists, their classroom discourse and a face-to face interview with the researcher were then analyzed with a view to answer: (1) What were the situations which rendered the use of the L1 necessary for the student-teachers? (2) How did the student-teachers use Cantonese in the English language classrooms? (3) What was the student-teachers' decision-making process regarding the alternation of language codes in the English language classrooms?