L1 practices of English teachers working in L2 classes in Turkish primary schools
: how much, when, how and why?

  • Serdar Tekin

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis is concerned with the understanding of young learner (henceforth YL) English teachers' use of first language (henceforth L1) in English classes in Turkish primary schools. Due to the lack of research on L1 use in lower-level settings (Izquierdo et al., 2016; Sali, 2014), it aims to contribute to the academic debates around monolingual and bilingual language teaching from YL teachers’ perspectives. More specifically, the study examines to what extent and for what functions they use L1 as well as underlying motivations for L1 use. The study adopted a qualitative case study approach, and data were collected from five teachers through multiple methods, including classroom observation with field notes and interviews (partially stimulated recall). First, a pre-interview was conducted with each participant, followed by observations of different grades and finally post-interviews which aimed to explore the issues with regards to L1 use specifically. Gathering data over the course of three months, data consist of 60 observations and ten interviews in total. L1 utterances in teachers’ talk were identified and analysed to determine the amount and functions of L1 use. In order to find out the underlying reasons for L1 use, thematic analysis (Nowell et al., 2017) was used to analyse the interviews and field notes. The findings reveal that despite some negative attitudes towards L1 in the course of teaching English, all teachers used L1 to different degrees and for various purposes, identifying a number of practical reasons for their decisions. It also became clear that in the context of this study, L1 was an essential part of the classroom, and several factors including learners' young age and their distinctive characteristics had some role to play in teachers’ L1 use. In light of the results of this study, a number of suggestions are proposed mainly for pre-service and in-service teacher education.
    Date of Award2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSue Garton (Supervisor) & Nur Kurtoglu-Hooton (Supervisor)


    • L1 use
    • young learners
    • primary english
    • bilingual teaching

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