L1 Use with University Students in Thailand: A Facilitating Tool or a Language Barrier in Learning English?

Napapat Thongwichit


This research aims at investigating the university students’ attitudes and purposes of L1 use in English classrooms to propose a guideline for teachers of English at the university level. The researcher uses a mixedmethods type research to integrate data from multiple sources: survey, semi-structured interview and field notes from a group of the second-year, the third-year and the fourth-year students at a government university in southern Thailand. The results demonstrated that the overall students hold a positive attitude towards L1 use as it plays significant roles in domains of affective filter, comprehensible input, language preferences and language proficiency. Meanwhile they realize drawbacks of L1 if overused in EFL context where English is limited to the classroom only. Furthermore, the data revealed that L1 is expected by the students to be used in translation, instruction, discussion, vocabulary, grammar and comprehension check. The findings ultimately suggested that teachers make a judicious use of L1 to facilitate the students’ learning. With a carefully planned lesson, L1 should be regarded as a worthy source in the field of second language learning.

Key Words: Attitude Most researchers seem to agree that an attitude is a state of readiness, a tendency to respond in a certain manner when confronted with certain stimuli (Oppenheim, 2005). Attitude can also be considered the sum of beliefs. Here it means the students’ response to L1 use in the language classrooms.

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