Wow. Amazing! With a lot of help from EFL wizards in Japan, I could managed to collect 125 responses for my survey. Compared to the usual number (about 20) I can collect, this is amazingly high and got interesting result which supports some of other research results. About 70% of teachers use a bit of L1 for various purposes but mainly for student's benefit such as facilitating friendlier and more comfortable learning space, especially for low leveled students. It shows very practical and pedagogical function of L1 usage in EFL classes.
Based on some of literature regarding L1 usage in L2 classes with the result of survey and 5 transcripts of my classes, my hypothesis is that the minimum and judicious usage of L1 can facilitate effective learning environment for young learners in terms of class management and motivation. This realization was made with amazing support from one of EFL wizards, Steven Herder who generously share his research paper on the same topic with me.
In spite of the lack of actual classroom and sufficient help from my tutor, considering the supportive and jolly study group with experienced and devoting educators that I regularly meet on Skype, daily helping hand from my partner, another EFL wizard & PhD candidate in TESOL and the connection with the miraculously generous and supportive group of wizards in EFL that I luckily have made in the last several years by involving ETJ Tokyo and attending numerous TEFL related events, I am in one of the most fortunate learning environment for professional as well as personal development.
I can't imagine myself getting involved and building connection with the wizards before getting involved with ETJ Tokyo Jolly fellows, Terry Yearly, Colin Skeats and Phil Brown, the first wizards I met in my life. It was 2006 I joined the group in order to be active in grass-root movement to stimulate collaborative learning among English teachers in Japan as I started taking a corresponding course at Nihon University, majoring in English literature after long absence from academic field that I felt resentful with based on the numerous horrible experiences I had in high school days. For a rebellious, wacky and ignorant teenager with full of skepticism towards the world of grown-ups, top-down and dictatorial style of school system she saw was nothing but torture and demotivating than anything else in the world. At that time, I completely lost my curiosity towards academic areas and rather hastily concluded that it was not my filed to be. I still somewhat doubt there is any room for me to be in the hard-core academic area where no rooms for practicality but only hypothesis and theoretical assertions. I strongly believe in the philosophers at nursery schools who respect the Goldren rule, "Do unto others" and practice the rule sincerely. But by joining the march with the jolly fellows as I got out of my comfort zone and explored the world of academia and TEFL at the same time, I discovered it is not only nursery schools but everywhere I can find those sincere and devoting philosophers. It was such an inspiring experience to get to know philosophers and wizards outside of my comfortable kingdom I have build around myself. It was also the time when my own daughter took the first step in the educational ladder and started showing me beautiful vulnerability and amazing courage on daily bases as she steps out of her comfortable nest and face the bigger and more complex reality on her own. Her presence in my life get me reconsider my way of dealing with my life.
Through this serious and continuous reconsiderations of my beliefs and opportunities to get to know those wizards and philosophers, I have come to a realization that instead of arming myself with full of skepticism and cynicism in order to defense the softest part of my heart, I would rather dive into my vulnerability with optimistic hopes and wishes, steadfast belief in the Golden rule and child-like curiosity and sincerity. From the day the realization was made, I actively seek the answers for my puzzles via participating workshops and presentations related to TEFL as I wrestled more academic facts via heaps of readings that the corresponding course offered. Through the workshops and presentations, I luckily made more connections with wizards and philosophers in TEFL and intensive study through the course, I've earned BA in English literature. Upon the path to the graduation from the course, inspired by devoting and hard-working teachers / mates in TEFL in Japan, my curiosity grew big and strong enough to explore more in depth in TEYL.
I am sure that any teachers who knew me as a teenager would not believe who I become in 2012 - Not only a mum / a teacher for young learners, I made the debut as a presenter and a material writer in EFL field. Thanks to all my Aston, ETJ, JALT and facebook friends for your inspirations and encouragements. Special thanks to Alastair Lamond, Aurora Dobashi, Barbara Sakamoto, Brian Cullen, Catherine Littlehale Oki, David Paul, David Harrington, Eric Kane, Irine Sugizaki, Mari Nakamura, Sanae Kawamoto (in alphabetical order), who encouraged and supported me greatly to dare presenting at ETJ Expo. And of course, a big thanks and hug to my partner, Andy Boon for doing everything he can possibly do to make my life more comfortable yet exciting.
My appreciation also goes to the first inspiration and the motivator, my daughter who still keeps igniting the mum and teacher in myself by mumbling things like, "I like learning but I don't like studying." as she was tackling with her homework reluctantly at the face of heaps of seemingly meaningless facts and figures.
"What and how can I do to facilitate the most comfortable home/classroom for my children so that they can keep on going out and seek the answers for their puzzles fearlessly?" was the first thought I got at the moment. Wouldn't that be nice to wake up in the morning, thinking, "What can I learn today?" like Phil Brown stated on FB? After all, it is only fair if I at least try to provide such a space for children I fortunately meet in my life because I am offered the most fortunate learning environment from those wizards and philosophers whom I humbly and proudly call friends of mine.
Again this year, 2012, I have made more connections with more wizards and philosophers in EFL and the academic field via expanding and participating actively in EFL and academic filed. Thank you for inspiring me constantly and all of your presence in my life. I am here sitting in the kitchen, feeling thrilled as I think, "What can I learn today, tomorrow and next year?"
Happy Learning for everyone in the coming new year !!