INSTRUCTOR CODE CHOICE AND PEDAGOGIC FUNCTION IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM

A. George

University of Minnesota (UNITED STATES)
Best practices often urge instructors to remain in the target language (TL) as much as possible. Recently studies have emerged which have shown the usefulness of using the first language (L1) in the classroom. While this still involves mostly using the TL, some L1 use can be beneficial to second language acquisition for both cognitive and affective reasons.

Previous studies have shown that teachers’ self-reported language choices in the classroom do not always match actual classroom use. This study examines just that, how a teacher’s beliefs about L1 use play out in the classroom. Previous studies have also shown variation among teachers as far as the ratio of TL to L1 use, but few have investigated the pedagogic functions of the L1 use (see Kim & Elder, 2005 for an exception).

The current study is a case study of a typical university level Spanish teacher and investigates the various uses of the first language as far as their functions in the second semester foreign language classroom. It also uses a stimulated recall of the transcript to further gauge teacher beliefs about specific instances of L1 use.