Teacher attitudes and motivation concerning target language use

University essay from Malmö högskola/Lärande och samhälle

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate how the actual implementation of target language use might differ from the theoretical standpoint that is promoted in the curriculum in Swedish and teacher attitudes towards the suggested level of TL use. The paper will also investigate teacher motivations behind these differences. It has long been the tradition in language teaching to promote a sole use of the target language in order to expose students to as much of the language as possible. However, research shows that student’s first language (L1) is frequently used in foreign language teaching. The current study is qualitative and investigates four English teachers from three different schools in the south of Sweden, all teaching in K-3. In order to collect data, observations were conducted and a semi-structured interview with each of the participating teachers. The results present a limited use of the target language and a more extensive use of the L1 in class. The results regarding teacher attitudes and motivations towards the use of the target language emerged into three themes: Teachers’ use of the TL and L1; Facilitating young language learners; and Teacher experience and awareness. The study implicates that teacher language choices are highly affected by students understanding and teachers’ own experience with attitudes reflecting inclusion of the L1 and an enjoyable learning environment as the main target.

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