Using Swedish in the ESL Classroom : An interview study about students and teachers use of Swedish in the ESL classroom

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Engelska

Abstract: The aim of this empirical study is to investigate the role of the L1 (Swedish for the purpose of this study) at upper secondary schools in Sweden, in English class. It also examines teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards the use of the L1 in the ESL classroom. The method that has been used for this thesis is a qualitative research method. In order to collect data, structured open-ended interviews were conducted. A total of eleven upper secondary students from the same school, and six upper secondary ESL teachers from four different schools, participated in this study. The results show that almost all of the participating students and teachers think that the L1 should be allowed in the classroom, as it can be used as a resource for learning. For instance, as the results demonstrate, the L1 was mainly used as a tool to clarify instructions, explain difficult terms, explain vocabulary and grammar rules, when translating, to manage discipline, and when they are socializing with each other. The majority of the participants suggest that the L1 worked as a very helpful tool in the learning process, especially in situations where students lacked understanding. However, there were also critical responses towards the use of the L1, particularly since the L1 can be easily overused. Previous research shares these latter views regarding the use of the L1 in the classroom, and confirms that it is important that learners are exposed to as much English as possible for successful language learning and development.

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