Interactional language use in EFL classroom: Exploring the phenomena of mother tongue in Indonesia

Widya Rizky Pratiwi(1*),

(*) Corresponding Author


Basically, mother tongue can serve as a mediating part of language teaching and learning. However, a controversy whether the use of mother tongue in EFL classrooms should be avoided or allowed has not over yet. Therefore, the phenomena seem necessary to be more investigated in accordance with the needs and situation in Indonesian context. This phenomenological qualitative study was conducted in five different high schools in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. 5 teachers responded to semi structured interview and 10 students expressed their perception through focus group discussion. The findings demonstrated that teachers and students in Indonesia rely on the use of mother tongue, national (Indonesia) and local (e.g. konjo, bugis) languages, to facilitate them in classroom interaction for achieving the success of foreign language acquisition. They feel that mother tongue is beneficial for overcoming cognitive difficulties, bridging communication gap, highlighting the important information, creating a more relaxing learning environment, saving energy and times, building social rapport, and forming students’ positive attitude toward English. However, they have to minimize a high proportion use of mother tongue as it may counter-productive and encourages the low exposure in target language. The more students are exposed to the target language, the more successful they become

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