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Optimization Of The Language Of Instruction

Posted on:2005-05-01Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y H LuFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360152967166Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The language of instruction, as both medium and content of teaching in foreign language classrooms, leads naturally to the outcome of teaching. In this thesis, the author suggests an integration of the advantages of both mother tongue and target language into the medium of instruction in college English classrooms, thus creating an optimal environment for learning. With the gradual demise of Grammar-Translation approach, instruction in the target language remains to be the mainstream in foreign language teaching. As a result, the mother tongue has been shunned at all costs. In this study, the author incorporates both theoretical framework and empirical investigation as an integrated entity and defends a legitimate position of the mother tongue in foreign language classrooms. In the theoretical framework, having synthesized the role of mother tongue in SLA theories and language teaching methodologies, the author argues that monolingual approach in instruction hinders learners' psychology, cognitive growth and learning efficiency. Moreover, the author re-examines the three assumptions on which rests the monolingual approach: namely, the similarity between the first language acquisition and second language acquisition; partition of the two languages in the mind and necessity of maximizing learners' exposure to the target language. Justifications for the use of mother tongue are proposed from the following perspectives: goals of teaching a L2, distinction between acquisition and learning, psychological needs of L2 learners, cognitive characters of L2 learners and humanism and experiential psychology in language teaching. The empirical research is conducted in five universities, from which qualitative and quantitative data are collected. Research methods include classroom observation, interviews and questionnaires. In classroom observation, low attendance, low motivation and rare interaction occur in classrooms where the mother tongue is very scarcely used while active participation and frequent interaction take place in classrooms where the mother tongue is proportionately used. In classrooms where the mother tongue is used frequently, a relaxed environment is found but disappointment is felt by top students. Consensus is tentatively reached among teachers interviewed on that it is necessary to take full advantage of the mother tongue while providing students with sufficient comprehensible input in the target language. Statistics derived from questionnaires indicate judicious use of the mother tongue may facilitate foreign language learning and cultivate learners' ability to stand between two languages and two cultures. The author suggests that a preferential stance in relation to the language of instruction might be "Using the target language where possible; Using the mother tongue when necessary". Strategic use of translation in foreign language classrooms is also defended. By making full use of the advantages of the two languages, the author proposes that English should be used exclusively in before-reading and global reading; Chinese should be used judiciously alongside English in detailed-reading and after-reading in College English classrooms.
Keywords/Search Tags:Mother tongue, Target language, Language of instruction, Second language acquisition, Foreign language teaching
PDF Full Text Request
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