Sunday, September 14, 2008

SEETA and Penny Ur


Today I took part in a very interesting forum discussion on the uses of L1 (mother tongue to those who are unfamiliar with EFL/ESL jargon) with Penny Ur, one of the biggest names in teaching English as a foreign language. Ur has challenged the prevailing wisdom that in the ideal language classroom everything should be in English.

"The only really valid argument, in my opinion, in favour of minimizing (not banishing) L1 use is that over-use of L1 lessens the time available for English use in the classroom. Obviously we want our students to have maximum exposure to English in our lessons. But this means limiting L1 use, not banishing it altogether. Insisting on keeping to English even when students don’t understand what is being said may lead to the message ‘it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand’, or the morale-lowering assumption by learners ‘I don’t understand English’."

It was also great to see EFL/ESL practitioners in Greece and the wider Eastern Mediterranean area embracing web 2.0 technologies such as moodles in order to come together and exchange ideas.

To take part in this debate and next Sunday's discussion click on the SEETA moodle. Register and enjoy.

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