This study investigates a teacher’s L1 use during focus-on-form episodes (FFEs). FFEs assist L2 learning by bringing learners’ attention to language. We studied the language used in FFEs in a Spanish as a foreign language (SFL) classroom to better understand the pedagogical purposes of L1 use in the classroom. We video-recorded 12 hours of an intermediate-high SFL classroom with an L1 English teacher at a US university. The audio data was segmented into FFEs and then coded (English L1, Spanish L2, mix) to reflect the language used in each of the teacher’s utterances. We also identified the linguistic areas (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation) targeted in the FFEs. Chi-square and descriptive statistics were used to understand the relationship between the teacher’s language and the linguistic areas. Lastly, using the same data set, we conducted a qualitative analysis in order to depict the situations in which the teacher employed the L1 and L2. There was a significant relationship between the teacher’s language and the FFEs’ linguistic areas. Specifically, the L1 and L2 were used equally when FFEs concerned vocabulary and grammar. However, when FFEs concerned semantics, frequent code-switching occurred. The qualitative data illustrate that the language choice may depend on the interactional patterns and the complexity of the linguistic structure.
- L1 use
- Spanish as a foreign language
- focus-on-form episodes
- teacher speech