Using the L1 in the L2 Classroom: From the Students’ Perspective

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Eleanor Carson, Hidenori Kashihara, Hiroshima City University


The goals of this study were to identify students` preferences regarding using the L1 (Japanese) in the L2 (English) classroom, which varies with their L2 proficiency levels (the “Proficiency Effect”), and to identify the classroom situations when students preferred, or did not prefer, the use of the L1. Participants, 305 first- and second-year students enrolled in English courses in International Studies and Information Technology faculties in a public university in Japan, were asked to anonymously complete a questionnaire using yes/no or multiple-choice answers. Results were sorted into five proficiency levels using Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) scores, and analyzed in percentages using Excel. Results indicate that a proficiency effect exists in two patterns, which affects the amount of L1 support for which students perceive a high or low need in a variety of classroom situations. This study concludes with suggestions for educators.