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United Kingdom

Hello everyone. I have another question for you. How do you deal with students who are always speaking their native language in class? I have an international class but several students from the same country who chat all the time in their language. I have an English-only rule in my class, but sometimes I think they are just helping each other understand what is going on in the classroom. Should I separate them? Or discipline them? Or just allow it to go on? Has anyone else had this situation?

12:35 AM Sep 15 2009 |

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in beginner classes, I think it's acceptable to allow soe use of L1. If students are using their native tongue to explainsome grammar point or instructions then it's being used to a good end and harder to discipline them for that.


You could try, during group or pair work, to put students together who do do not share a common language. 


I shared this article with the other teachers in my department recently. You might find it helpful.



04:50 AM Sep 16 2009 |

Glamour_No Private


Hello there, i think you can allow them to do that to a certain limit but not all the time. Little by little, you can say in a firmly way, that english language is an international language and everyone is prefered to speak this language as it will help them to communicate on a better level. I will tell you a little bit about my experience, i have had the chance to spend two months in USA for a research program in one of the Biggest Universities. I can see students there speaking their native languages all the time and it so frustrating cause by that way, i was not able to commuinate with them and learning english will be difficult to handle if they will continue doing that.


03:05 AM Sep 23 2009 |




Well, you can make a good lesson to them. Give them instructions that the following assignment is an attestational one or simply is very important for their improvement and give these instructions (it’s better to do it partly: semi-english, semi-matobian, for example). They’ll bombard you with questions! In addition, it is then that you must ask them: “How do they feel about it? Is it pleasant to realize that the assignment is an important one, but not to have an idea of how to manage with it?” Explain them in terms of your example, that you can’t know all the languages on the Earth and when they don’t speak English you don’t know what is going on around and your team-work will not be successful. Make them feel a little guilty. Take care.

09:29 PM Sep 23 2009 |



 I 've had the same experience myself. What I do in these cases is to encourage to speak the language by putting up a sign "The ENglish Zone" and writing a "Black list " with names of students who speak any other language but English.By the end of the week they'll have to bring in some chocolates to share with the whole class as a "punishment". I also encourage my students to speak English by telling them that there's no other way to learn  more effectively than "diving into English".They can even explain vocabulary with synonyms in English avoiding to speak their native laguage.It's undestandable that some words in their native language may slip out if dealing with real beginners Ss,but on the other hand it's a good idea to provide them with some useful phrases or expressions that help them communicate in class.We, as well may not be surprised if they whisper the words to a peer in their native language looking for reasurance,as long as they do not do it very often and loudly you can pretend not to hear.

Of course we,as teachers must be really expressive and have lots of tools under our sleeeves to get them to undestand: realia,slides,pictures,flash cards,videos,etc what's more if you're living in an English Speaking country TV commercials,signs,newspapers everything helps you out.

Warm regards from Lima -Peru :)

12:10 AM Sep 24 2009 |



Try mixing up your students so that they are grouped with speakers of other languages.

For anything that is designed to practice English in class, then insist on only English. So, any activities that you do with them. 

But, some things need a brief explanation in their own language sometimes. Grammar points, new vocabulary. Some students prefer to check the explanation in their own language first. You could create some classroom activities to practice checking grammar and vocabulary just in English to give them the tools to do it. But, unless you teach them HOW to learn meanings of new words or understand grammar points, you'll have to accept that they'll need to use their own language sometimes. Merely telling them to just use English is not enough; you need to show them how.

Good luck


03:20 AM Sep 29 2009 |




That depends on how much they speak in their language. But you must understand, it's not so easy to speak to someone in another language whom you share another with (mainly if they are in the UK – what I do not know). But asking them for a translation is a very good idea. Maybe just learn 10 words in their language andif you're talking to them that makes the conversation funny, and probably you'll make them do the same. That's a half-succes. In the England our teacher did the same but shetook years here before, but it was quite funny.

Best wishes,


07:11 PM Sep 29 2009 |