L1 vs L2: Policies and Practices
around the World
• Daniela Coelho, Higher
College of Technology, United
Arab Emirates
• Jim Howden, McGill
University/ University of
Quebec in Montreal
• Sunny Man Chu Lau, Bishop’s
University
• Stephane Lacroix, College and
University of Quebec in A-T /
CASLT
Humor:
Can you imagine
the context ?
Theoretical Foundations
• Cook (2001) states that for over 100 years most
of the reviewed literature suggests a systematic
ban of the L1 in L2 classrooms
• SLA literature emphasizes exclusive or optimal
use of the TL when teaching (Duff and Polio 1990;
Guthrie, 1987; MELS , 2006; MELS, 2007;
Turnbull, 1998; Papaefthymiou-Lytra, 1987; Polio
and Duff, 1994; Rolin-Ianziti and Brownlie, Wing,
1987; etc.)
• But does this vary from one country to another?
And is there a gap between policy and practice?
Daniela Coelho
English Faculty
Higher Colleges of Technology
United Arab Emirates
Living languages: 7,106
Institutional: 560
Developing: 1,563
Dying: 915*
Living languages: 285
Institutional: 72
Developing: 65
Dying: 50*
*Lewis, Simons & Fennig (eds.). 2014. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Seventeenth
edition. Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.
5
Living languages: 285
Major official
languages: see map.
*Lewis, Simons & Fennig (eds.). 2014. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Seventeenth
edition. Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.
6
PORTUGAL (2010)*
•Immigrants – 445,262 / +- 4%
90 different nationalities
•Brazil – 26.81%
•Ukraine – 11.12%
•Cape Verde – 9.88%
•Romania – 8,27%
•Angola – 5.28%
•Guiné-Bissau – 4.45%
•UK – 3.86%
•China – 3.53%
•Moldavia – 3.51%
10.21% of the 445,262 foreign
citizens living in Portugal are
between 0 and 14 years old
Languages present in schools:
•Brazilian Portuguese
•African Portuguese (dialects from
African ex-colonies: cape-verdian,
crioulo, quimbundo, etc…)
•Ukrainian
•Romanian
•Mandarin
•English
•French
•Hindi, etc…
*Observatório da Imigração do Alto Comissariado para a Imigração e Diálogo Intercultural
(http://www.oi.acidi.gov.pt/index.php ).
Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras
7
Kindergarten
Learning a Foreign Language (FL) is optional (encouraged)*
Elementary School
At least one (FL) – not compulsory in all countries
Middle School
One Foreign Language (FL)
High School
Two/Three FLs
*European Comission (2012)
8
English
French
Spanish
German
• 54% of European citizens can speak ONE Foreign Language
• 25% of European citizens can speak TWO Foreign Languages
• 10% of European citizens can speak THREE Foreign Languages
European Union encourages its citizens to learn at least two foreign languages.
*European Comission (2012) -Eurobarometer
9
“Le plurilinguisme comme ‘manière
d’être en Europe” (Beacco, 2005) –
Council of Europe
“Language use, embracing
language learning, comprises
the actions performed by
persons who as individuals and
as social agents develop a range
of competences,
both general and in particular
communicative language
competences.” (Council of
Europe, 2001)- CEFRL
Listening, Reading,
Spoken Interaction,
Spoken Production,
Writing
*European Comission (2012) -Eurobarometer
Plurilingual and
Pluricultural Competence
Coste, Moore & Zarate (2009); Beacco; Byram;
Coste; Fleming & Cavalli (2009)
•The use of previous knowledge, including L1
or other FLs, is welcome in language learning
settings in Europe;
•Comparing and contrasting languages is
important and seen as a way of facilitating
the learning process;
•Translation from L1 to L2 and vice-versa.
(cf. Council of Europe, 2001: 145)
10
Approaches:
“ -by a combination of
presentations, explanations, (drill)
exercises and exploitation activities,
but with L1 as the language of
classroom management,
explanation, etc.;
- by some combination of the
above [activity starting with L1 as
the language of explanation and
comparison,] but progressively
reducing the use of L1 and
including more tasks and authentic
texts, spoken
and written, and an increasing selfstudy component” (Council of
Europe, 2001: 143 – Chapter 6 –
Language Learning and Teaching)
Plurilingual and
Pluricultural Competence
Coste, Moore & Zarate (2009); Beacco; Byram;
Coste; Fleming & Cavalli (2009)
11
English
French
Spanish
German
Elementary
Kindergarten
Grade 3 – English is
compulsory
FLs are optional
Most KG schools teach
English
12
English
Kindergarten
Elementary
French
Playful and fun classes
Focus on Oral skills (oral
comprehension)
Listening and Speaking
Intercultural domain
L1 is used for teaching and learning
Children are not forced to use L2*
Playful and fun classes
Focus on Oral skills
Listening, Speaking , Reading and
Writing
Intercultural domain
L1 is used for teaching and learning
Children are not forced to use L2*
* Portuguese Ministry of Education (2014); Council of Europe (2012); European Comission (2011)
13
http://carap.ecml.at/Keyconcepts/Pluralisticapproachestolanguagesandcultures/tabid/2683/language/
en-GB/Default.aspx
14
852
853
854
855
856
857
858
859
860
861
862
863
B3
P/I
B6
P/I
B6
P/I
B1
P/I
B7
P/I
B7
P/I
Adiós
Adiós come here give me a hug
But Daniela I wanted to learn more
<busy saying goodbye to another child>
But Daniela I wanted to learn more languages with you
B1
Goodbye
Goodbye! Well, you said goodbye, you said adios, what else?
I know one
So you can say it, B7
*Arriberdeci
Well done! Arriverdeci. Come here to give me a big hug/ (…) B1 you love French
do you want to say something in French?
864
865
•P/I- the teacher 866
(me)
867
•B… - children
868
•V – KG teacher 869
870
871
872
873
874
875
876
877
878
B5
P/I
B5
P/I
B6
P/I
B6
P/I
B6
V
P/I
B6
P/I
B6
P/I
I want to say…
Go ahead
Voir
Au revoir// bye bye
But look I wanted to learn more with you
Good! Do you…
I want to say something in French too
So go ahead you can say it
Uhm uhm uhm
She forgot
Gone/ au revoir?
Au revoir
Well done!
I wanted to learn more with you
Ok I can always come another day and teach some more
Portuguese
Spanish
English
Italian
French
15
43
3
43
4
43
5
43
6
43
7
43
8
P/I
Frog, well done! And this one?
B3
Bird
P/I
Bird or...
B3
*papagaiaou <trying an English accent>
P/I
Papagayo . And in Italian is papagalo
B7
They have the dog
Portuguese
Spanish
English
Italian
Use of L1
and L2 in
one
sentence
•P/I- the teacher
(me)
•B… - children
An increased Communicative Competence
16
English
Middle School
High School
French
Spanish
German
Listening, Speaking , Reading, Writing
and Grammar
Intercultural domain
L1 is used for teaching and learning
Students are not forced to use L2*
L2 is only required in official
assessments
CEFRL
Listening, Speaking , Reading, Writing
and Grammar
Intercultural domain
L1 is used for teaching and learning
Students are highly encouraged to
use L2/3 more and more*
* Portuguese Ministry of Education (2013); Council of Europe (2012)
Portugal
Spain
France
Germany
England
26% (English)
19% (English)
32% (English)
36.5%
(English)
15% (French)
12% (French)
4% (French)
14% (Spanish) 13% (French)
Between 15-34 years old
4% (German)
19
Language policy in Hong Kong:
Battles over English- & Chinesemedium of instruction
Dr. Sunny Man Chu Lau
Bishop’s University
[email protected]
Medium of Instruction (MOI)
Use of L2 as the medium of instruction (MOI):
• French immersion in Canada (Johnson &
Swain, 1997)
• Dual language education (Lindholm-Leary
2001)
• English L2 as MOI in the Outer Circle  Kenya,
Nigeria, Malaysia & Hong Kong (Evans, 2008)
Hong Kong (HK)
1898
• British colony
• 99-year lease
1997
• HK was returned to
China
• “1 Country 2 Systems”
• HK Special
Administrative Region
(HKSAR)
Medium of Instruction
Before • (elitist education)
1978 • Primary: mother-tongue instruction
• Secondary: English-medium & Chinese-medium schools
After
1978
•
•
•
•
(9-year compulsory education)
Secondary: 86% English-medium; 14 % Chinese-medium
Mixed code 
Johnson (1983) – T in Eng schools used 43% English,
48% Cantonese; 9% mixed-code
• Shek, Johnson & Law (1991) – 96% of the 193 Chinese
schools used English textbooks for one or more subjects
Medium of Instruction
1997
2010
• streaming policy  114 schools were allowed
to be English-medium schools
• “Fine-tuning” the language policy
• Remove the EMI & CMI labels
• Allow individual schools to adopt diversified
arrangements based on certain criteria, e.g.,
T & S English abilities, support systems, etc.
HK Education System
• Highly competitive; exam-oriented
• English proficiency – indispensable for higher
education, jobs, & social mobility
Use of L1 & L2 – in principle
• Strict enforcement of English-only policy in
English classrooms & content subject
classrooms
• School-wide English environment – using
English during assemblies; encourage teachers
to interact with students in English outside
classroom, etc.
USE of L1 & L2– in reality
Use of Cantonese in a English science class:
1. To provide the Chinese meaning of difficult or
technical terms;
2. To explain difficult concepts;
3. To give clear instructions;
4. To establish rapport with the students (e.g.
telling jokes) and
5. To allow students to raise or answer questions
when they had difficulty.
(Chan, 2014)
Use of L1 in ESL/FLS context
Pennington’s (1995) study in Hong Kong shows
that teachers use L1 to:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Explain aspect of L2
Translate words/sentences
Give instructions
Check understanding
Elicit language
Focus class attention
Talk about learning
Give feedback
Discipline and control
Talk informally, to relate to students
1. Compensatory or
strategic uses
2. Interpersonal
uses
Findings
Fewer interactions
Computer Teacher :
In the past, there were more interactions for the
students [in the weaker classes]. They
thought that they knew many things about the
computer and they were eager to express their
opinion. Now, they don’t know how to do it.
(Chan, 2014, p. 468)
Findings
Rote memory rather than higher order
thinking:
We also learnt it in this way in the past. . .
mechanical memorisation. . . After memorising
the structures, it’s easier for them to write it in
the future. Though I think this is not good, I have
no other ways.
(Chan, 2014, p. 469)
Findings
Resorting to a teacher-centred approach
Head of Science Department:
. . .deep in their mind, the teachers believe that they
cannot do activities with the students. Not only do they
think that the students cannot speak, the teachers might
think that they can’t speak spontaneously as well. To
avoid trouble, they simply don’t do it. That’s what I see.
(Chan, 2014, p. 472)
Conclusions
• Deep-seated monolingual bias; English
cherished for its esteemed linguistic capital
• Bilinguals are often viewed as “two
monolinguals in one person” (Cook, 2002;
Grosjean, 2008)
• Exclusive use of L2  still accepted as the best
practice (Turnbull & Dailey-O'Cain, 2009).
Stephane Lacroix
• Teacher in TESL at College and
University of Quebec
(in Abitibi-Temiscamingue)
• On Board of Directors, Canadian
Association of Second Language
Teachers
• [email protected]
Target Language Policies in Canada
FSL+ESL:
100%.
Core FSL:
As much as
possible
Bilingual?
Bilingual
FSL:
100%
FSL: 100%
ESL: L1+L2
FSL:
100%
ESL:
100%
ESL:
100%
Acknowledgement: Thanks to CASLT people!
FSL: 100%
Application of Target Language Policies in Canada
Rationale
• Even if most parts of Canada have clear policies
regarding exclusive use of the L2, most sources
mentioned that this was not always respected.
• Examples of such TL variations were also
reported:
– From 10 % to 100 % of L2 (Polio and Duff, 1994)
– From 24 to 72 % of L2 in Toronto (Turnbull, 1998)
– From 28 % to 100 % of L2 in northern Quebec (Lacroix,
2002)
–…
Position for Quebec
and Most Areas in Canada
• A communicative second language environment
should be made up of natural situations, as for
the learning of a native language
• The critical period hypothesis suggests that the
younger the learners use the L2, the better they
should be able to speak it without an L1 accent or
oral L1 interference (Krashen)
• The new language does not constitute a threat
for children (Ref.: Low affective filter, Krashen)
Position for Quebec
and Most Areas in Canada
• If the students do not hear their teachers speak the TL
they certainly will not be inclined to speak the
language
• Fillmore (1985) demonstrated that native language and
target language should never be mixed. For her, this is
the key to proficiency and it has been shown to lead to
great improvement in SLA
• The L1 restricts the amount of time for the L2 input
• L2 input is also limited outside the classroom
• Teachers provide live and authoritative models
• The higher the frequency of the input, the better and
faster the language learning (Brown, 2006; LarsenFreeman, 2001; Lightbown and Spada, 2000; Nunan,
1999; Selinger, 1983)
Position for Quebec
and Most Areas in Canada
• Teacher input is of utmost importance since, for
many students this will be the only source of
English they will hear
• More specifically, Turnbull (2001) found a positive
connection between teachers who spoke the L2
most frequently and general proficiency
measures and achievement tests of learners.
Turnbull (2001) also listed four other studies that
highlight a similar connection…
• Furthermore, Cook (2001) adds the L2 should not
just be studied; it should represent the means of
communication for the teacher and the learners
Position for Quebec
and Most Areas in Canada
• Most (if not all) actors (teachers themselves,
researchers, L2 departments, school boards,
professional associations, etc.) believe
teachers do not use a sufficient quantity of L2
when teaching (Franklin, 1990; Pratte, 1999;
Société Radio-Canada, 2006; Turnbull,
2001;…)
• Even if there are some advantages to using
the L1 in class, the disadvantages outweigh
them in a huge way… Communication in the
TL is definitely part of the solution.
Wrap-up
Summary
Conclusion
L1 vs L2: Policies and Practices
• Not every area has an L2 usage policy
• When there are policies in countries, they vary
a lot from place to place
• Even when there are policies, they are not
always applied… but they can have an impact
on practice
• …
Question and
Discussion Period
Keep in Touch:
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Thanks for
your attention
!!!
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