Teaching Monolingual v Multilingual GroupsI found this topic interesting to research, as I have studied languages in my home country and have been a student in a Multi-lingual class in a foreign country. My recent move to Germany gave me the opportunity to participate in German language classes. In my particular class, there were over a dozen different nationalities and cultural backgrounds trying to learn the language. Cultural awareness suddenly became very important and something I had to consider on a daily basis. I have seen teachers deal with students in both situations The discussion is, whether it’s better/easier to teach english
to a Monolingual or a Multi-lingual group of students?
A Mono, greek
for solitaire or alone, lingual group speaks one language and their learning usually takes place in their home country; whereas a Multi-lingual group has many languages and is usually taught in an english
speaking country. Teaching a Monolingual group means dealing with students having one common language, the same culture and interests and therefore the same set of problems. Generally this group is highly motivated and the students tend to help each other using their mother tongue. The teacher spends less time on explanations, the lessons flow more efficiently and thus creating a comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. Even though there is some disagreement whether students should be allowed to revert back to their mother tongue in the classroom, most language schools have the policy: “Strictly not permitted” unless absolutely necessary. However studies have shown its’ use can be beneficial to both teacher and student.
In the Multi-lingual group, on the other hand, there is no common language so students are forced to communicate in english
. Compared to a Monolingual group, the different nationalities and cultures bring new ideas and experiences to the classroom. An advantage of learning english
in the Multi-lingual group is living in an english
speaking country. These students are exposed to the language everyday and have the opportunity to practice speak outside the classroom. However there are also some disadvantages. Explanations and problem solving can be time consuming and because everyone learns and works at different paces, it is necessary for teachers to take a flexible and patient approach in assisting students to understand. Slower students can become frustrated and faster ones can become frustrated or bored. Certain cultures don’t use the same alphabet as the english
language so pronunciation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and the alphabet may be quite difficult to learn for them. All these problems can cause divisions within the classroom so the group dynamics and atmosphere is lost.
In my opinion, after considering all these points, a variety of strategies are needed to teach a Multi-lingual group and only an experienced teacher can use their skills to gain full potential from their students. I believe teaching a Monolingual group is easier as it has the advantage of teaching students with one common language. The teacher-student relationship is closer, the focus is on one set of needs and interests, the language difficulties are the same and therefore the class objectives are easier to achieve.