English is generally accepted as a medium of international communication. It is therefore without doubt that one of the ultimate goals of students of English language learning is to be able to communicate in English. However, students for whom English is neither their mother tongue nor the official language in their country have limited exposure to the English language. The language classroom seems to be the only place where they can learn, practise and use the target language. It is therefore claimed that it is crucial for teachers to point out the importance of English and to teach entirely in the target language to encourage students to use it in the classroom. On the other hand, it is argued that the exclusive use of English in the EFL classroom might hinder students’ concept development process. When English language teachers should use the target language in the classroom is now being questioned. Therefore, this study aimed to examine what students really think about English teachers’ use of L1 in the classroom. Three different age groups: high school students, undergraduates and graduates were randomly selected and asked to complete a questionnaire to show their conceptions of teachers’ use of L1 in the classroom. Differences between age groups were discussed in order to provide fruitful implications for teacher training and teaching English as a foreign language (EFL).
age groups, students’ conceptions, teachers’ use of L1, EFL classroom