The instructor stood in front of the class writing on a dry erase board. The surrounding walls were bare with the succession of desks set up facing the front of the room. Each time students’ verbalized they were required to raise their hands and not allowed to confer with classmates in their L1. If they were not conscious of the correct words necessary to express themselves they were not to respond. The entire class was in complete silence while transcribing a story out of their books devoid of any cultural relevance because they had been unable to respond to the questions being asked.
The instructor was unable to see the importance of making use of the L2 learners L1 and culture to help facilitate interaction amongst the students. The classroom may have been operating in such a manner due to a lack of training, interest, or teaching style. Whatever the cause the L2 learners were suffering and I felt as if a piece of my soul had died by being required to endure the fifty minutes of monotony.
Supporting EFL learners L1 within the classroom is of significant value to them and members of their surrounding communities. Showing support and expressing the importance of a L2 learner’s primary language and culture have profound effects on levels of success that are attained in acquiring a foreign language. By providing feelings of self-worth and empowerment EFL students’ realize their potential as L2 learners. Educational environments that do not facilitate and encourage L2 learners L1 within school curriculums only serve to devalue students’ sense of being and encourage them to reject their own culture resulting in immeasurable effects upon society.
Communication between EFL educators, student’s families, and community members with regards to how L2 education programs are implemented is essential. Most language educators recognize the importance of their student’s L1, but do not realize the value of using culture and language as a primary foundation for future academic growth. Continuing education and becoming an informed teacher lessen similar situations amongst L2 educators. By doing so, L2 educators will better serve the needs of their EFL students and maintain positive relationships with members of the communities they teach in.