Different Perspectives on the Use of L1 inTeaching English to the Elderly
Keywords:seniors, language teaching, teacher perceptions, L1 in English teaching
Own-language use has commonly been discouraged by language teachers worldwide ever since the Grammar Translation method gave place to other methods. In the last decade, however, there has been a visible shift in the use of mother tongue and, what is notable, an increasing number of methodologists have begun to point that the use of students’ mother tongue may in fact facilitate the process of learning. Despite the long awaited return of own-language use students’ learning preferences regarding the use of L1 are still often dismissed by teachers either due to lack of experience or to some reservations. Such attitudes may be especially harmful to a group which often demands own-language use in the classroom environment and which remains understudied – the elderly. Therefore, the primary objective of the proposed paper is to highlight the differences between various teacher perceptions of whether or not own-language use does facilitate the process of older adult students’ learning and to collate them with older adult students’ own answers. The secondary objective is to present a possibly wide spectrum of various views reflecting the issues connected with the use of students’ own language and the related influence of teachers’ experiences and perceptions. The disparity between the answers provided by inexperienced teachers, experienced teachers and the elderly learners, especially while taking into account the use of students’ L1, is aimed at drawing some conclusions that may point to alternative directions in the future studies of own-language use in the classroom environment
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