German Teachers’ Choice of Classroom Language

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Axel Harting, Hiroshima University

The aim of this paper is to report on an investigation into the choice of either German or Japanese as the medium of instruction in German teaching (GFL) in Japan. A survey was carried out among native German and Japanese GFL teachers in order to evaluate which factors determine their language choice and for which teaching functions they prefer the students’ L1 or L2. The results indicate that complex teaching contents, big class sizes, and low motivation or low L2 skills of the students are factors that trigger the use of the students’ L1. As far as language choice according to different teaching functions is concerned, greetings and corrections tend to be carried out in the target language, but for explanations and announcements the students’ L1 is preferred. It was also revealed that the higher the students’ L2 skills, the more teachers tend to use the L2 in the classroom.