Arabic in English-medium classes? Reasons and implications
The use of L1 in L2 classrooms is a contentious issue (Auerbach, 1993; Cook, 2001; Macaro, 2001). Debate continues over its usefulness (or harmfulness) (Cummins, 2009; Morrow, 2011). Although research has been conducted in the region on this topic, it has mostly been limited to tertiary or secondary environments (Mouhanna, 2009); little is available that looks at L1 in the primary L2 class. The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) rolled out their New School Model (NSM) in 2010; it is currently in place for KG to grade 5. In the NSM, math, science and English language classes are all meant to be conducted in English only, and over the last few years ADEC has been hiring native English speakers to teach these classes. Recently, however, they have started to shift to hiring some Emirati teachers as English Medium Teachers (EMTs) in KG and Cycle 1 schools. Several of the first graduating class of a newly established teachers’ college are among these new hires. This study investigates these Emirati novice EMTs’ use and negotiation of language within the classroom as well as the wider school community. How and why do they use English? What about Arabic? Is there a place for both? The presenters will summarize their on-going research and invite discussion from the audience.