ATTITUDES TO THE USE OF L1 AND TRANSLATION IN SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING

Michael Druce

Abstract


This research addresses the controversial methodological issue of own-language use and particularly translation in second and foreign language teaching and learning.  In recent years, a re-evaluation of the assumption of a monolingual approach has begun, and this study focuses on the attitudes and opinions of experienced TESOL/TEFL practitioners in the UK and abroad.  A combined approach was adopted using both semi-structured questionnaires and personal interviews to explore many of the contentious issues raised in the literature and traditionally held objections to use of L1 and translation.  Any meaningful differences between views of UK and rest of world respondents were also sought.  The findings, whilst highlighting the wide diversity of individual opinions, nevertheless indicate perhaps surprisingly, a considerable degree of overall support for judicious use of the L1 and translation in appropriate circumstances.  Thus, 68% of respondents disagree that the Direct Method is the most appropriate technique and 86% do agree that carefully planned translation activity can play a useful role in the L2 communicative classroom, with 82% agreeing to the use of an eclectic approach. The overall findings firmly suggest the time is ripe to place use of L1 and translation back onto the language teaching agenda.  Recommendations for practical classroom applications and further research are also made.


Keywords


Second Language Teaching and Learning, Translation, L1 Use

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ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.