Principles and Practices of L1/L2 Use in the Japanese University EFL Classroom

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Keith Ford


This paper considers the issue of classroom language policy in the context of an EFL environment. Specifically, it focuses on the context of university settings in Japan. Using a semi-structured format, I interviewed ten university teachers about their principles and practices concerning both teachers’ and students’ L1 use. Policies ranged from those requiring strict L2 only classrooms to those allowing students to use the L1 whenever they needed. The policies of most teachers were not constrained by any institutional requirements or particularly influenced by critical pedagogy or any language learning theory. Rather, they tended to be determined by pragmatism, individual beliefs and personality.