Learners of a foreign language may face lot of challenges as a result of the differences that usually exist between two languages. The other day, I was having a discussion with some of my colleagues when the topic of using mother tongue in classroom cropped up. We discussed about when and how to use mother tongue when teaching English. In this article, I will discuss the result of that discussion and make some recommendations.
In order to treat this topic with the justice it deserves, the following questions will be asked:
1. In which level should we avoid using mother tongue?
2. What are the tools that can be used to help teachers and students avoid mother tongue classroom?
1. When to avoid using mother tongue
For the purpose of simplicity, mother tongue may be used in a limited way for beginners. This is because a new learner may need to make connection between his or her native and the foreign language. Some language experts have even suggested that a sound grammatical understanding of one’s native language will assist greatly in learning a foreign language by way of correlation. However, after the basics of the new language have been grasped at the beginners’ level; it is better to gradually avoid the use mother tongue at the intermediate level. For a complete avoidance this can be done at the advanced level.
2. Tools that aid the avoidance the use of mother tongue
The following tools may be employed to help avoid the use mother tongue:
1. Course book: a course book with diagrams and illustrations will make understanding easier for students and thus there will be no need for the use of mother tongue.
2. Flash card: makes learning easier without the need for another language so also is slide show.
3. Photo-Dictionary: some students usual use dictionary with words translated to their native language. A dictionary with pictures will make the need for another language unnecessary.
In addition to the above, some foreign language intuitions have introduced rules that aid the avoidance of mother tongue such as separation and prohibition.
Separation is the situation where in students with the same native language are given placed in different accommodations; thus, those with different languages stay in the same room. In this way, they will be obliged to communicate in the new language.
Prohibition is when it rules are passed that make it prohibited to speak mother tongue in classroom or the entire school campus. Usually, a sort of penalty is be levied to those who break the rules. Any suggestions concerning ways to avoid mother in learning a new language will be greatly appreciated.