Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number2 June 2021 Pp.251-267
The Place of Arabic in English as a Foreign Language University Level Classes in Jordan
Tamador Khalaf Abu-Snoubar
Department of English Language and Literature
Al-Balqa Applied University, Salt Faculty of Humanities
Bandar Khlil Mukattash
Department of English Language and Literature
Al-Balqa Applied University, Salt Faculty of Humanities
Received: 2/10/2021 Accepted: 5/16/2021 Published: 6/24/2021
Modern graduates face major challenges in the international job market where knowledge of English and other foreign languages became one of the most important requirements of a well-trained professional. Even though the demands of such candidates increase, the methodology of teaching English remains the same. Modern educators and students demand the inclusion of the first language in their English as a Foreign Language classrooms, yet still, this method is considered controversial. Previous research generated ambiguous and inconclusive findings that the current study tries to re-explore. This study aims to find out the a) students’ attitude towards implementing their first language in English as a Foreign Language classes; b) how these attitudes can be related to their proficiency levels; c) the potential purposes of using the first language in the English language classrooms; and d) if teachers support using a bilingual approach in their classrooms. The current research uses a mixed-method design by applying a survey filled in by 400 students studying at Al-Balqa Applied University and semi-structured interviews with 5 instructors from the same institute to collect the data needed. The findings recognized that both students and teachers support the situational application of Arabic in the English as a Foreign Language classrooms, especially when it comes to the reading comprehension activities and introducing a new grammar topic or new vocabulary items. The use of the first language has to be proportionate to the level of students’ target language proficiency, as basic English speakers require the inclusion of their first language more often than their advanced counterparts.
Keywords: bilingual approach, English as a Foreign Language, First language, mother tongue, Target Language, monolingual approachp
Cite as: Abu-Snoubar, T. K., & Mukattash, B. K. (2021). The Place of Arabic in English as a Foreign Language University Level Classes in Jordan.
Arab World English Journal, 12 (2) 251-267.
Afzal, S. (2012). Relationship between Providing Persian Equivalents of English Adjectives and Iranian EFL Learners’ Active Vocabulary.
International Journal of English Linguistics, 2 (1), 231-238. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v2n1p231
Almoayidi, K. (2018). The effectiveness of using L1 in second language classrooms: A controversial issue.
Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 8 (4), 375-379.
Al-Musawi, N. (2014). Strategic use of translation in learning English as a foreign language (EFL) among Bahrain University students. Comprehensive Psychology, 3(4), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.2466%2F10.03.IT.3.4
Alrabah, S., Wu, S., Alotaibi,A., Aldaihani, H.. (2015). ‘English teachers’ use of learners’ L1 (Arabic) in college classrooms in Kuwait’. English Language Teaching, 9 (1),2-11. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v9n1p1
Alvarez, L. C. (2014). Selective use of the mother tongue to enhance students’ English learning processes beyond the same assumptions. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 16(1),137-151. http://dx.doi.org/10.15446/profile.v16n1.38661.
Arenas-Iglesias, L. (2016). Students’ opinions about the use of L1 in an intermediate level course, (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). University of St Mark and St John, U.K. http://hdl.handle.net/11117/3399
Bateman, B. (2008). Student Teachers’ Attitudes and Beliefs About Using the Target Language in the Classroom.
Foreign Language Annals, 41(1), 11-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2008.tb03277.x
Bhooth, A., Azman, H. & Ismail, K. (2014). The role of the L1 as a scaffolding tool in the EFL reading classroom.
Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 118, 76-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.02.011
Bondarenko, M. (forthcoming) Rethinking Authenticity in SLA from the Perspective of L2 Use, In: W. Stadler and L. Will (Eds).
Authenticity across Languages and Cultures. Themes of Identity in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. (Chapter X) Tübingen: Narr Verlag.
Boustani, K. (2019). The Correlation between translation equivalence, as a vocabulary learning strategy, and Tunisian EFL learners’ speaking anxiety. Languages, 4(1),19-28. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages4010019
Butzkamm, W., & Caldwell, J. (2009). The Bilingual Reform: A Paradigm Shift in Foreign Language Teaching. Tübingen: Narr Studienbücher
Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2013). Towards a Plurilingual Approach in English Language Teaching: Softening the Boundaries Between Languages. TESOL Quarterly, 4(3), 591-599. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.121
De La Campa, J., & Nassaji, H. (2009). The amount, purpose, and reasons for using L1 in L2 classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 42(4), 742 – 759. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2009.01052.x
Ellis, R., & Natsuko, S. (2014). Exploring Language Pedagogy through Second Language Acquisition Research. Routledge.
Galali, A., & Cinkara, E. (2017). The use of L1 in English as a foreign language classes: Insights from Iraqi tertiary level students. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 8(5), 54-64.
Hall, G., & Cook, G. (2013). Own-language Use in ELT: Exploring global practices and attitudes. London: British Council. Available at https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/C448%20
Hanáková, M., & Metruk, R. (2017) The use of L1 in the process of teaching English.
Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, 7(8), 208-216.
Hanif, H. (2020). The role of L1 in an EFL classroom. The Language Scholar (8), 54-62
Hertel, T., & Sunderman, G. (2009). Student Attitudes toward Native and Non-Native Language Instructors.
Foreign Language Annals, 42(3), 468-475. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2009.01031.x
Hidayati, I. (2012). Evaluating the Role of L1 in Teaching Receptive Skills and Grammar in EFL Classes.
Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 17 -32. https://doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v1i2.82
Hlas, A. (2016). Secondary Teachers’ Language Usage: Beliefs and Practices. Hispania 99 (2), 305–319.
Izquierdo, J.,Martínez, V. Pulido, M., and Zúñiga, S. (2016).First and Target Language use in Public Language Education for Young Learners:
Longitudinal Evidence from Mexican Secondary-school Classrooms. System 61, 20–30.
Giannikas, C. (2011). L1in English Language Learning: A Research Study in a Greek Regional Context.
International Journal of Applied Linguistics 21(3), 319–339.
Jadallah, M., & Hasan, F. (2014). A review of some new trends in using L1 in the EFL classroom. Al-Quds Open University, 1-10. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/A-Review-of-Some-New-Trends-in-Using-L-1-in-the-EFL-Jadallah-Al-Quds/0c53b4e4b805928868ca5199983b444d3e655fb2?p2df
Jingxia, L. (2010). Teachers’ code switching to the L1 in EFL Classroom. The Open Applied Linguistics Journal, 3, 10-23.
Krieger, D. (2005). Teaching ESL versus EFL: Principles and Practices. English Teaching Forum, 43 (2), 8-16.
Kohi, M. & Lakshmi, S. (2020). Use of L1 in ESL/EFL Classroom: Multinational Teachers’ Perceptions and Attitudes.
International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 8(3). 88-96.
Koucka, A. (2007). The Role of Mother Tongue in English Language Teaching, (Unpublished Master’s thesis).
University of Pardubice, Czech Republic.
Laufer, B., & Nathan, G. (2008). Form-focused instruction in second language vocabulary learning:
a case for contrastive analysis and translation. Applied Linguistics, 29(4), 694–716.
Littlewood, W., &Yu, B. (2011). First language and target language in the foreign language classroom. Language Teaching. 44(1), 64–77
Lopes, A., & Ruiz- Cecilia, R. (2019). New Trends in Foreign Language Teaching: Methods, Evaluation and Innovation.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Mahboob, A. (2010). The NNEST Lens: Non Native English Speakers in TESOL. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Mahmoudi, L., & Amirkhiz, S. (2011). The Use of Persian in the EFL Classroom the Case of English Teaching and Learning
at Pre-University Level in Iran. English Language Teaching, 4(1), 135-140. http://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v4n1p135
Macaro, E., & Lee, J. (2013). Teacher Language Background, Codeswitching, and English-only Instruction:
Does Age Make a Difference to Learners’ Attitudes? TESOL Quarterly, 47(4), 717–742. doi:10.1002/tesq.74.
Moeller, A., & Roberts, A. (2013). Keeping it in the target language. Faculty Publications: Department of Teaching, Learning and
Teacher Education, 178, 21-38.
Murga, B., Damian, D., Tacoaman, M. (2018). Use of L1 in English as a foreign language (EFL) learning environment. Bulletin Virtual, 7, 59-83.
Ochi, Y. (2009). The role of L1 in facilitating L2 production. Interpreting and Translation Studies, 9, 123-140.
Ortega, L. (2014). Understanding Second Language Acquisition, Routledge.
Pan, Y., & Pan, Y. (2010). The use of L1 in the foreign language classroom. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 12 (2), 87-96. http://doi.org/ 10.14483/22487085.85
Parker, J., Hietzman, S., Fjerstad, A. (1995). Exploring the Role of Foreign Language in Immersion Education. In Eckman, F., Highland, D., Peter, W., Milcam, J., Weber, R. (Eds.), Second Language Acquisition Theory and Pedagogy (pp.235-255). New York, Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
Shabir, M. (2017). Student- teachers’ beliefs on the use of L1 in EFL classroom: A global perspective. English Language Teaching, 10(4), 45-52. http://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v10n4p45
Tajgozari, M. (2017). Factors contributing to the use of L1 in English classrooms: Listening to the voice of teachers and students in Iranian institutes. International Journal of Research in English Education, 2(2), 63-75. http://doi.org/10.18869/acadpub.ijree.2.2.63
Taniş, A., Şensoy, H., & Atay, D. (2020). The effects of L1 use and dialogic instruction on EFL writing. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(1), 1-21. http://doi.org/10.32601/ejal.710178
Tian, L., and Hennebry, M. (2016). Chinese Learners’ Perceptions Towards Teachers’ Language Use in Lexical Explanations: A Comparison Between Chinese-only and English-only Instructions. System 63: 77–88.
Ull, A. (2020). A Plurilingual Approach to English Language Teaching from an Ecological Perspective: An international comparative study, (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). Universitat Jaume I, Spain. Available at https://www.tdx.cat/handle/10803/669334#page=1,