A Place for L1 – I like a lot to go to the cinema.
The question of whether L1 has a place in the EFL classroom has raged for many years, and will undoubtedly still have teachers debating in the future. For some, the EFL classroom should be an environment where nothing but English is spoken, to the point where students can be expelled if they consistently speak Spanish. Others take a more relaxed attitude, arguing that an L1-free classroom can be a difficult situation to maintain, for both students and teachers.
I think that there are some activities in which we can use L1 to our advantage. Having done private classes with students to complement their school studies, I’ve seen how teachers in Spanish schools use translation of key phrases to highlight the structures within them, structures which sometimes cause problems for Spanish speakers.
In my opinion, there is good reason to translate phrases such as “I like going to the cinema a lot” from Spanish as the direct translation, which students sometimes come out with when speaking, sounds incredibly unnatural : “I like a lot to go to the cinema”.
Although it could be argued that if students use the correct structure enough it will become more natural to them, I would say that there’s no harm in having it written correctly too for students to refer back to.