Attitudes of Iranian English Language Teachers towards the Use of Persian in EFL Classrooms at Private Language Institutes in Tehran

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In most Iranian private language institutes, inspired by the rise of Communicative Language Teaching, EFL teachers are largely encouraged to run their classes on the bases of a “monolingual approach” where only English is used within their classrooms. Some scholars have supported this approach and believe that since the process of L2 and L1 acquisition are similar, more exposure to L2 which results in less exposure to L1 is essential, because interference from L1 knowledge hinders L2 learning process (Cook, 2001; Krashen, 1981). Although, by referring to the current theories of second language acquisition, it can be understood that L1 has a necessary and facilitating role in all aspects of language teaching. Various theorists have argued against rejecting L1 from L2 classes (e.g., Nation, 2003; Larsen-Freeman, 2000) and have stated that a well thought-out and planned use of L1 can be positive (Cook, 2001).

The use of L1 in L2 classrooms, as Mahmoudi (2011) describes it, has been a matter of “to be or not to be”. She states that it is controversial because different theories of L2 acquisition afford different hypotheses about the value of L1 use in L2 classes. However, the role of teachers as experts in this principle has to be taken into account. Inspired by these views, this research tends to explore the Iranian EFL Teachers' attitudes and perceptions toward the use of L1 in their classrooms at private language institutes.

Statement of the Problem

Some sympathetic EFL teachers ask that is it acceptable or even helpful to use Persian in English classes or not. While the literature provides us with the necessary factors that must be taken into account for using L1 in classroom, it is important to consider that ...

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