Teachers' Use of English in Communicative German Language Classrooms: A Qualitative Analysis


  • Angelika Kraemer

    1. Michigan State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 2

      Angelika Kraemer (PhD candidate, Michigan State University) is an instructor of German at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.


ABSTRACT: The use of English by foreign language teachers is a matter of much controversy. Whereas language switching by English-speaking foreign language teachers has been the focus of previous research, relatively little is known about the amount of teachers' language use in the classroom when comparing native speakers of the foreign language with nonnative speakers. This qualitative study examined the amount and the purpose of English used by five teaching assistants (TAs) (three native speakers of English, one native speaker of German, and one whose first language was neither English nor German) in beginning German language classrooms. Results of the study indicate eight common functions for the use of English and also show that previous language teaching experience as well as a background in relevant teacher training coursework reduced the amount of English used.