The use of the L1 in CLIL classes: The teachers’ perspective

David Lasagabaster


There are currently different perspectives about the role to be played by the L1 in CLIL (Context and Language Integrated Learning) contexts, although its use seems to be common practice. Some voices consider that the L1 only has a support function for explanation and its use should be minimized, whereas other voices state that the L1 has a learning function, as it can help to build up students’ lexicon and to foster their metalinguistic awareness. In this paper 35 in-service CLIL teachers were asked about their beliefs regarding the use of the L1 in their classes in Colombia. The results indicated that the participants were positive about L1 use, as they believed it can serve to scaffold language and content learning, although the amount of first language use varied greatly from teacher to teacher. The paper ends up by advocating for a principled L1 use, instead of the current randomized practices.

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