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ESL forum > Ask for help > What to do if your students keep using their mother tongue?    

What to do if your students keep using their mother tongue?


What to do if your students keep using their mother tongue?
Dear teachers, 
I´m  really tired of asking my students not to use their mother tongue.No matter what I do or say, they keep using it.I can t get a 100 per cent English class.They argue they don t know the words to use.I m really frustrated for my dream of having a perfectly English class seems not come true.What can I do?

11 Jan 2010      


I have the same problem but I am not frustrated. They are beginersThumbs Up

11 Jan 2010     


Please please don t be frustrated, there is no place for frustration in teacher s life. As Vardaki said, depending on the level they will always use their mother tongue, it s natural, only very advanced or very motivated students (in my experience) speak to their classmates in English. If you have a 50-60-70% English class, it is already great (in my opinion, of course).
Good luck, please remember we teachers know, love and use English often, the students ARE NOT US. They are just learning, you would be doing the same if you were learning a different language or a different subject altogether. Try and look at this through the student s point of view. They are not as motivated and responsible as teachers, you can hardly exppect that and spoil the pleasure from teaching with this. Gradually work towards having people speak in English.
My students are adults, so I sometimes tell them that they have paid money for the course and when they are speaking their own tongue they are wasting the money. It gets them to think.

11 Jan 2010     


Thanks Lana for the tips, but I m badly in need of some strategies to get my students(beginners) to use English.
Help me please,once I see them speaking and asking me in Arabic, I feel that I m a complete fiasco.

11 Jan 2010     


They re all right - it comes to them in time and when they need it. I once had a native speaker visit my sts and I was amazed to hear them speak so much English. But they managed, willingly, because they had no choice. Plus their parents told me they often use English when they re on holiday and all the foreigners are always amazed at the level of their knowledge. (So I m amazed, too, because I don t always see it, esp in spoken classroom English). A colleague of mine had a strategy with older sts. It was a long time ago, but they liked it and it worked, at least for while. Whenever they spoke mother tongue instead of English, they had to pay a fine (you can use real coins or make coupons) which she collected in a jar on her table. At the end of the month, if they filled the jar too fast, it meant they owed her a chocolate bar. But whenever they did well, they got refunds. Not that I m a fan of bribing kids, but this was a special group of very materialistically-oriented teenagers who were brought up very economically, so this approach worked with them. I keep up my spoken English and try to be persistent and they stsrt talking as soon as they really need to. (Btw, they love playing the hot seat game, which demands only spoken English, so you can also use that.)

11 Jan 2010     


Sorry, Anitarobi...What is the hot seat game?? can you explain it a little bit?
thank you!

11 Jan 2010     


I pretend to be deaf when my students use their mother tongue.
I simply do not understand a word of what they say in German... Pinch

11 Jan 2010