Students’ perceptions of the use of L1 in English language classroom in a Hong Kong secondary school

Hiu Nam CHAN

Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


In literature on English as Second Language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching and learning, the perspectives for and against the use of first language (L1) contributes to the existing classroom approaches: monolingual and bilingual approaches. On one hand, some linguists believe that the inclusion of L1 precludes second language (L2) acquisition and should be banished from their English classes, whereas others assert the advantages of L1 had on facilitating the learning of a L2. The purpose of this study was to investigate secondary school students’ perceptions of the use of L1 in English language classroom. The present study also explored the factors contributing to their preferences of using L1 in class. The study was conducted on a sample of 60 secondary two students who were Chinese native speakers at a Hong Kong secondary school at the end of the first semester of the 2019-2020 academic year. The triangulated data were collected using a questionnaire and face-to-face semi-structured individual interviews with six students. The findings revealed that participants had positive attitudes towards the use of L1 while their inclinations were mostly influenced by their low level of English Language proficiency and the demand of L1 to be used as a facilitating tool in acquiring target language (TL) knowledge. In addition, different areas of language learning and occasions when students needed L1 were also identified. Drawing upon the results, the implications of L1 use in teaching and learning English were discussed to provide insights on how L1 can be intentionally used to develop L2 literacy.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationBachelor of Education (Honours)
  • MAK, Wing Wah, Pauline 麥詠華, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • L1 use
  • Second language acquisition
  • Students’ perceptions
  • English language classroom
  • Hong Kong
  • Alt. title: 香港中學生對在英文課內使用母語的看法
  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B059
  • Course code: ENG4903


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