Guidelines For Using The Mother Tongue In The EFL Classroom
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Whether or not to use your students’ mother tongue in the EFL classroom is a long-debated topic. We are teaching English, after all. It would seem that immersion is the best way to accomplish fluency as quickly as possible. However, there are a number of valid arguments for bringing in the students’ first language. There is no doubt that it can be useful at times, but we need to be careful not to overuse it.
In effect, we should only be using our students’ mother tongue when the advantages outweigh the drawbacks. If we use it too much, our students will lose out on the benefits of extended exposure to English. Our students might also learn to rely on translation to learn English, which means they will miss out on a number of learning opportunities. However, using the mother tongue can be a very useful tool for comprehension, to avoid overly long, complex language explanations.
How to use the mother tongue in the EFL classroom
- Use it when it’s necessary. Equip your students with the language they need to ask for a translation. For example, How do you say ___________ in English? Or Does that mean the same as __________? In this way you are making use of translation in the least intrusive way.
- Use the mother tongue to support English. Explain in English but if you see that the concept warrants further explanation, explain again in the mother tongue.
- Compare the mother tongue with English to show similarities and comparisons.
- Use the mother tongue to quickly and accurately provide a translation for an English word which is the not the focus of an activity. In other words, if the incomprehension of a word is standing in the way of a student performing an activity, translate it.
- With Young Learners. With younger learners it may be necessary to switch to the mother tongue in certain situations which warrants clear communication. This can be the case with discipline or health and safety issues.
When you shouldn’t use the mother tongue in the EFL classroom
- All the time. Use it sparingly or your students will become accustomed to speaking their language in the classroom.
- In response to your students’ questions. If they learn that you will respond to their questions in their own language, they will continue to ask in their language.
- When you chat on topics unrelated to the lesson. Just because you are not focusing on the lesson material doesn’t mean that you should stop speaking English. Situations like these present wonderful opportunities for students to use their English in real contexts.
- To deal with admin. Many teachers feel they need to utilise the mother tongue when dealing with announcements or notices. This may cause students not to relate the use of English to their everyday lives.
To be sure, there are opportunities for using the mother tongue in the EFL classroom. At the same time, though, you need to bear in mind a few guidelines when doing so. Remember, only make use of the mother tongue if you are fluent in it yourself, or else your translation can cause more problems than it solves!
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2023
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- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.