Using native language in the classroom

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Using native language in the classroom

Unread post by robby » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:54 am

Hi everybody
An English institute recently has a new way of examining the students by asking them to translate sentences into English in their exams to see how much they have learned. I personally think that students should learn English from the structures that is already used in everyday language and practice using them in class. I also try to ask questions around the topic and elicit answers. I like to know your ideas about this.

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Unread post by Rat07 » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:08 am

Hi Robby,

Your subject is really useful to discuss.
Logically, learning language is learning how to use language and perform its in the real world.
Therefore, asking learners to translate their language inton English is not a good way to test student's learning of language. It is not necessary to translate the language, but to know its rules and the use according to different context.

Again, i don't think doing translation is a good for language assessement.


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learning language for intercultural communication...

Unread post by eric_p_m » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:24 am

Dear Robby,

I would assume that in general, an English language training institute would not be focusing on education, but rather on monetary gain. In my experience, the aforementioned companies know as little about teaching methodologies as they know about the foreign language and culture they are attempting to provide services for. Linguistic examinations in the vast majority of cultures throughout the globe poorly reflect actual proficiency or knowledge of the target language. Multiple choice questions are nothing more than a rapid evaluation device created to satisfy administrators and lay parents. Holistic linguistic assessments provide the master teacher the necessary tools to better serve society and facilitate foreign language acquisition.

Translation, in my opinion, is a waste of time due to a complete disregard for cross-cultural communication. Translating randomly disconnected sentences ineptly suffices in reinforcing the fact that the foreign language is just that: a strange unfamiliar outside phenomenon, never to be utilized as a realistic medium of communication. Non-native speaking foreign language teachers solidify sociolinguistic fossilization whenever they express ideas through their students' mother tongue. Interpretation is the path both teachers and students should follow and assessments in the target language should resonate such concerns.

A contextually based communicative curriculum gives way to a more effective and efficient assessment tool. I humbly advise to utilize current motivating multimedia to inundate foreign language learners with audio and visual input. Allow the foreign language learners to listen and watch a television news report in their native language and then turn the tables on them by having them role-play the broadcast in the target language. Afterwards, ask open-ended questions to interview class participants and discuss possible local, regional, and global implications.

Better yet, have one group create a podcast, multiple groups watch and listen to the podcast and immediately afterwards, the podcasters interview in the target language. At least, I have positive feedback from my on-line school students after implementing my methods in a three dimensional virtual learning environment: utilize technology to enhance critical thinking skills.


Eric Paul Monroe

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Unread post by SwissCheese » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:16 pm

I abolutely agree. I experienced myself what huge difference it can make whether translation or use of the target language is deemed most important.

When I was taught French we focused on translation and rote learning. After 3 years I was still not capable of using this language in real situations.

As far as English is concerned, the matter was quite different. What began with watching language courses on TV continued with reading English user's manuals, watching TV programs for native speakers, listening to the radio, reading British newspapers and magazines. There were also the unavoidable teachers involved, most of whom didn't speak any other language than English.
This approach enabled me to pass the CPE without ever having been in any English speaking country.

Based on these experiences I view the the examinig method "translation test" as a very bad omen.

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hello teachers

Unread post by saidbelgra » Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:59 pm

I totally agree with you . translation is a waste of time ; it can have bad effects on the students'learning. this method is an old one , it's called Grammar Translation Method . it was proved to be useless that's why it was rejected . so the method most used now is the Communicative Approach". this latter insist on communication in English so that students could use it the real world.

said belgra . Morocco

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Unread post by chiccaita » Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:38 pm

I do agree with you, but you can't imagine how many teachers in Italy ask their students to translate silly and useless sentences full of grammar rules. the sentences are very far from being of some importance in a daily conversation and probably sound ridicolous to a mother tongue listener.
So when a student needs to solve a problem or to ask for information or give suggestions is completely lost in his translation from italian into english.

Bye to you all

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