Teachers’ self‐reported L1 and L2 use and self‐assessed L2 proficiency in primary EFL education

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Eva Wilden
Raphaela Porsch


This study investigates teachers’ first language (L1, German) and second language (L2, English) use in the primary English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom in two federal German states. It particularly focuses on the question of whether a more frequent, (self-reported) use of the L2 is positively correlated to teachers’ professional qualification as well as (self-assessed) L2 proficiency. To this end, data was collected in 2017 through an online survey among German primary teachers teaching EFL in year 4 (N = 844). L2 use was assessed through a 4-point Likert scale comprising 16 items on various classroom situations. L1 use was surveyed with an open question on situations of L1 use in the L2 classroom. Moreover, teachers self-assessed their L2 proficiency with a 4-point Likert scale and adapted CEFR descriptors for speaking. Findings indicate that teachers claim to use the L2 more in L2-related situations and the L1 more in classroom management situations. The study shows that teachers with a higher formal qualification tend to assess their L2 proficiency higher and claim to use the L2 more often in the primary EFL classroom. In contrast, teachers with a lower formal qualification tend to assess their L2 proficiency lower and claim to use the L1 more frequently in the L2 classroom.


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How to Cite
Wilden, E., & Porsch, R. (2020). Teachers’ self‐reported L1 and L2 use and self‐assessed L2 proficiency in primary EFL education. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 10(3), 631-655. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2020.10.3.9
Author Biographies

Eva Wilden, University of Duisburg-Essen

Eva Wilden, PhD, is Professor of EFL education at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Her research interests include primary EFL education, inclusive L2 education and teacher qualification. Together with Raphaela Porsch she directs the TEPS project (Teaching English in Primary Schools), which has been published in various international journals such as Language Teaching for Young Learners or AILA Review. Eva has co-edited the anthology The Professional Development of Primary EFL Teachers (2017, Waxmann). She co-edits a special issue of The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL on teaching English to young learners. Eva is member of the AILA Research Network in Early Language Learning established by Janet Enever.

Contact details: University of Duisburg-Essen, Department of Anglophone Studies, Universitaetsstrasse 12, 45141 Essen, Germany (eva.wilden@uni-due.de)

Raphaela Porsch, University of Magdeburg

Raphaela Porsch, PhD, is Professor of Education at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. Her research interests include teacher education, teaching out-of-field/teaching across specialisations, academic emotions, transition after primary school, and (early) foreign language teaching. Together with Eva Wilden she directs the TEPS project (Teaching English in Primary Schools), which has been published in various international journals such as Language Teaching for Young Learners or AILA Review. She has worked in national large-scale assessment as well as projects on school development and is the editor of several anthologies on educational topics such as transition after primary school and teaching out-of-field.

Contact details: University of Magdeburg, Institut I: Bildung, Beruf und Medien/ Erziehungswissenschaft, Zschokkestr. 32, 39104 Magdeburg, Germany (raphaela.porsch@ovgu.de)


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