Using the L1 sensibly in English language classrooms

Mee Ling LAI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Even with the belief "Teaching English through English" in mind, teachers in Hong Kong still find it necessary to use their mother tongue to assist in the teaching of English language (L2) because, as they claim, standard of students is low and class discipline is poor. Four pre-service English teacher-trainees were asked to keep journals and do audio-recordings during their 2-month teaching practice period. Each student-teacher chose a particular class at either upper primary or junior secondary levels and kept records for 8 English lessons they taught. The journals kept by the diarists, their classroom discourse and a face-to face interview with the researcher were then analyzed with a view to answer: (1) What were the situations which rendered the use of the L1 necessary for the student-teachers? (2) How did the student-teachers use Cantonese in the English language classrooms? (3) What was the student-teachers' decision-making process regarding the alternation of language codes in the English language classrooms?
(一)是甚麼情況促使教師在英語課堂內使用母語?(二)教師如何使用母語?(三)教師在決定中、英語交替時,所作的考慮是甚麼?Copyright © 1996 香港中文大學香港教育研究所.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-99
JournalJournal of Primary Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1996


Lai, M.-L. (1996). Using the L1 sensibly in English language classrooms. Journal of Primary Education, 6(1/2), 91-99.


  • English language classroom
  • Teaching English through English
  • Mother tongue
  • 母語在英語課堂內之運用


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