THE USE OF FIRST LANGUAGE IN LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY CLASSES: GOOD, BAD OR UGLY?

Siti Hamin Stapa, Abdul Hameed Abdul Majid

Abstract


There has been an ongoing debate among language teachers on whether to use students’
first language (L1) in second language (L2) teaching. Nevertheless, the use of L1 in L2
teaching has been advocated with grounded theory as far as it merits the situation. This
research article aims to investigate the effectiveness of the use of L1 to generate ideas for
second language writing among low proficiency ESL learners. The study employed the
experimental research design where students in the experimental group used Bahasa
Melayu in generating ideas before they resumed writing their essays in English. Students
in the control group used English. Two independent raters graded the essays and the
scores were analysed using the paired t-test. The findings showed a marked improvement
in the writing performance of students who used their first language to generate ideas
before using their second language for writing. Based on the findings, we recommend
that teachers encourage the use of first language before writing or composing in English
especially among low-level proficiency ESL learners.


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