Using Swedish (L1) in the English (L2) Classroom : A study examining how much, when, and why teachers use Swedish in the English classroom
Abstract: The present study examined how much, when, and why six Swedish primary school teachers use Swedish when it comes to teaching English as a second language to students in years 4-5. This study also aimed to answer whether the L1 use is affected by the teacher’s education, experience, or confidence, and how the L1 use differed between years 4-5, if at all. In summary, the study showed that the participating teachers used a small amount of Swedish in the English classroom. The use was not unnecessary; it was used with a purpose in mind. Although there were some signs of guilt as a result of using L1, the teachers were not reluctant to use it. The teaching was influenced by the sociocultural theory, communicative language teaching, and cooperative learning; all theories and approaches promoting active learners and scaffolding. L1 was seen as a learning and teaching tool to help increase students’ comprehension, reduce anxiety, and enhance L2 acquisition. All teachers agreed that L1 needs to be balanced and adapted to fit the learners’ comprehension. There was no evidence of L1 use being affected by the teachers’ education, experience, or confidence; as well as no evidence of differences between years 4 and 5. Further observations would have to be made to conclude whether the L1 use differs for the above mentioned reasons.
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