Instructors' Use of English in the Modern Language Classroom



Abstract: Contemporary best practices in the profession encourage teaching as much as possible in the target language, but when university faculty were observed teaching Spanish, the majority spoke English during instruction and many engaged in frequent code switching (alternations) between English and Spanish. Findings indicate that instructors used English as a strategy to save time, avoid ambiguity, and establish authority. Variation in the amount of English spoken by instructors may influence students' articulation between courses and the ultimate success of language programs. Therefore, university faculty may benefit from pedagogical training to teach with limited reliance on English.