Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Lost in translation: breaking a taboo

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Italy Cambridge English exams teacher

As a rule, I never use my students’ mother tongue in my lessons.  Of course, that’s not to say that my students don’t!

globeSometimes it can be useful.  For example, if I’m teaching a new expression such as ‘It serves you right’ and someone shouts it out the Italian translation (‘Ti sta bene’) – well, it gives me good evidence that they’ve understood what it means.  So I usually say ‘Yes, that’s right’ and get on with the lesson.  It’s nice and quick and should be clear.

In this way I don’t use the students’ L1 myself – and this can keep up the illusion that my lessons are events where we only use English to communicate with each other.  I think that if I used Italian myself, it would break the ‘spell’.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with another way of getting my students to use their L1.  It’s called…

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Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

April 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm

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