Graham Hall and Guy Cook

In this research paper Graham Hall and Guy Cook explore teacher attitudes to own-language use in the classroom. They conducted a global survey and interviews with practising teachers.


They found evidence of widespread own-language use within ELT, and suggest that teachers’ attitudes towards own-language use, and their classroom practices, are more complex than usually acknowledged. The findings also suggest that there is a potential gap between mainstream ELT literature and teachers’ practices on the ground.

This publication is free to download.



I recently qualified and am working as a classroom assistant for an adult beginners' ESOL class. The students speak a variety of languages, but the majority speak or at least understand Spanish. They try very hard to speak English all the time, but sometimes there are words or instructions which they just don't understand. So the choice is: spend several minutes explaining, gesticulating, drawing pictures, or a few seconds saying it in Spanish. There is a collective sigh of relief, and the activity continues. Once or twice a lesson is all it takes, and the students know I can help if they get really stuck.

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