Teaching Multilingual Vs Monolingual Classes Rapid globalisation has developed the
Rapid globalisation has developed the need to find a common means of international communication. Throughout modern history English has been the language for most of the worlds economic, political and scientific leaders. Now-a-days if any non-English speaking country want to communicate outside its borders then English is usually the language of choice. To meet the demand of teaching non-English speakers, many language courses have been developed e.g. TEFEL, TESOL etc. These courses have to meet demand in many different situations one of which being multi-lingual and mono-lingual classes. Multi--lingual classes consist of students speaking different languages and are most often found in English speaking countries where students have come with an aim to learn English. Mono-lingual classes consist of students speaking the same language and are usually found in non-English speaking countries. The aim of this discussion is to evaluate the differences between teaching the two classes.
There are several major factors one must take into account when dealing with multi-lingual and mono-lingual classes. Students attending multi-lingual classes have come from different cultures, speak a different language and have no common language between themselves. Students attending a mono-lingual class are usually from the same background and speak the same language, allowing them to communicate amongst themselves in the classroom. This has its advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of attending multi-lingual classes are that students will be forced to speak English between themselves and with the teacher, as it´s the only common ground everyone possess. As multi- lingual classes are usually held in English speaking countries students are inadvertently exposed to English outside of the class too. This vastly increases their exposure to the language resulting in passive learning along with active learning in the classroom. Students who take the trouble to go to an English speaking country to learn the language are often highly motivated making it easier for both teacher and students to work through lessons efficiently.
Disadvantages of multi-lingual classes are that some students that may speak a language which may share similar structures or many similar words, thus having an advantage over students that may have come from a country that doesn´t even use our alphabet, layout or numbers let alone words. Students speaking different languages will work at different speeds and can create divisions in the class. Hopefully the teacher is skilled enough to deal with these problems but if not, it can limit the more able students and/or make the less able students feel stupid and cumbersome. Students from different backgrounds will also come across different problems in the English language, be it pronunciation, spelling or layout. These problems will be individual for each student and will take personal attention from the teacher. Explaining a students problem to the whole class may be ineffective as they don´t necessarily experience the same difficulties. Again, with a less skilled teacher, the personal time taken to solve students problems could leave the rest of the class bored and neglected.
The advantages of teaching mono-lingual classes are that the students are all on the same playing field, as in they speak the same language, most would have similar cultures and most would experience similar problems when learning English. This gives the teacher an advantage as they generally don´t have to deal with individual problems, any problem raised by one student would likely help the other students too. Students are able to intercommunicate using their mother tongue which can be a huge advantage in the classroom when the teacher sets an exercise for group work or pair work; the students are able to organise themselves together to carry out the tasks. It allows the lesson to run more efficiently.
The disadvantages of teaching mono-lingual classes are almost the opposite to that of teaching multi-lingual classes. In the native country students may often be in the class out of compulsion not out of want, which produces an environment of contempt, resulting in slow learning. Students communicating in their mother tongue can act as a hindrance as they are not practicing English in the classroom and very rarely outside the class, greatly reducing their exposure and practice of the language.
Both multi-lingual and mono-lingual classes have their advantages and disadvantages. It is personal opinion as to which out weigh the other. Ultimately it is other factors such as preference of teachers and students, teacher experience and class objectives which may determine the success of a class.