Use of the first language in the adult English language learner classroom
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Using the first language (L1) in the English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom has been the topic of debate for decades. What originated as a commonplace practice shifted dramatically in the late 1800s, when for political reasons, the L1 was banned from classroom use. Most second language methods since the 1960’s reflect this decision, by recommending against the inclusion of the L1 in the ESL or EFL classroom. More recently, both researchers and teachers in the field have reopened this previously unquestioned axiom, and now acknowledge the L1 may have numerous advantages for the language learner. This report delineates the support in the literature for the benefits of judiciously using the L1 in the ESL/EFL classroom.