Delta Publishing Catalogue

Using the Mother Tongue

Activities to optimise a major classroom resource


Authors: Mario Rinvolucri, Sheelagh Deller

ISBN: 9780954198619

Series:Professional Perspectives

Using the Mother Tongue, part of the Professional Perspectives series, offers a variety of practical ways to make use of what is a very valuable resource by:

  • providing ideas and guidelines on when and how to use the mother tongue
  • encouraging teachers to use the mother tongue selectively and effectively
  • raising awareness of the similarities and differences between languages
  • building links between the mother tongue and the foreign language through comparison and translation

The use of the mother tongue in the foreign language classroom has often been officially discouraged; however, many teachers have recognised that in practice using one’s own language to learn a foreign language is natural, necessary and efficient.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Compensabatur, inquit, cum summis doloribus laetitia. At modo dixeras nihil in istis rebus esse, quod interesset. Utinam quidem dicerent alium alio beatiorem! Iam ruinas videres. Istam voluptatem, inquit.

# Name Type Size
# Name ISBN
# Name Type Size
1Sample.pdf24.65

Mario Rinvolucri

As Gill Johnson and I have written Culture in our Classrooms for the new Delta Teacher Development Series, it is sensible to think back over my life in terms of culture things.

Born 1940……my father locked up in 1940 by the British for being Italian until 1943 when Italy changed sides in the war. My mother was half German and half Liverpool.

My father would dunk his bread in his morning coffee. My mother forbade me to ever do so vulgar a thing.

My father flew off the handle rather easily…..my mother was expert at sulking in response to his very short bursts of anger. Southern expression of anger in face of Northern inability to cope with anger expressed.

I was brought up with a confused sense of relativity about cultural behaviours and beliefs.

At the age of 23 I went to live in Greece and realised how shallow my cultural relativism was. The phrase “pame parea” or “let’s go together” began to stifle me. I could not cope with intense Greek sociability and I began to realise what an extreme Western individualist I was and am.

At the age of 31 I went to live in Southern Chile. I thought I was in a country like Italy where anger bursts forth and is expressed. Not in Germanic + Mapuche Southern Chile. My fifth year University students went on strike to demand lower pass marks and I had not seen this one coming….I had had no inkling of it. I could not read the signs.

The cultures I have come into contact with since my 30’s have contributed to making me aware of the limits of my original Germano-Italian-English presuppositions, prejudices, beliefs and behaviours. To become half aware of how culturally tiny you are is already some way to becoming a culturally open human being.

Sheelagh Deller

I have been involved in EFL in a number of ways since the early 80’s. I followed the track of teaching one to one, then groups, then teachers, then teacher trainers and alongside that writing articles and books. One of my current interests is CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) and most of my work has been through Pilgrims, Canterbury.

In 2002 Delta published Using the Mother Tongue which I wrote with Mario Rinvolucri. This is a controversial topic which we feel is very important and judging by people’s reactions to it it’s certainly creating a stir!

I spend most of my time working with teachers on courses in UK or in their countries. I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively and be exposed to a number of different cultures and teaching situations. However, I still make sure I regularly teach language learners as that is the basis for my training work.

Another aspect of my working life is giving plenary talks and workshops at conferences in many different countries.

As for my non-working life, I have 3 grown up sons, live in Canterbury, love and play tennis, and relax by gardening and cooking.