Departmental Bulletin Paper Examining Japanese Teachers’ Use of L1 in English Classes :Frequency, Function and Reasons behind them

Izumitani, Tadashi  ,  Sato, Rintaro

65 ( 1 )  , pp.125 - 139 , 2016-11-30 , 奈良教育大学
Senior high school teachers are supposed to conduct English classes mainly in English, and, according to MEXT (2013), junior high school English classes will be also taught mainly in English. Although it is crucial that teachers provide more L2 (target language) input for students to acquire a target language, L1 (learners’ mother tongue) should not be excluded in lessons. In this study, we examined Japanese English teachers’ use of L1 (Japanese), focusing on frequency, function and reasons behind them. In the study, each lesson of one senior high school teacher and two junior high school teachers was recorded and transcribed to examine the frequency and functions of their L1 use. The percentage of the teachers’ L1 (Japanese) use was calculated referring to Kimi and Shawn (2014), and the functions of L1 use were categorized based on Campa and Nasaaji (2009). After the lessons,stimulated recall interviews and questionnaire surveys were conducted to examine the reasons of their L1 use in their recorded lessons. The result showed that there was a significant difference in the ratio of L2 use in lessons among the teachers whose language proficiency levels were almost the same, and that the most frequently used functions of L1 use in the three lessons are activity instruction, followed by explanation and translation. Examining the reasons of their L1-use frequency and functions, we found that their L1 use seemed to be influenced by internal factors (e.g., teachers’ belief towards L1 and L2 use) rather than external factors (e.g., lesson contents, class size). In addition, the study concluded that learners’ grade or L2 proficiency level does not seem to influence teachers’ L2 use in the classroom. Limitations are shown in the end.

Number of accesses :  

Other information