Teach English in SAnyu Zhen - Nantong Shi

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Depending upon the place and purpose, an English language teacher can expect to come across classes with a variety characteristic, such as variability in age, ability, religion, etc. One such situation is a class that is either entirely monolingual: where everyone has the same L1, or a multilingual one: where the L1 of the students are different. Although a teacher might have their personal preference, both of these conditions present their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. This essay is therefore going to discuss some of the major pros and cons of a monolingual class versus a multilingual class based around peer communication outside of the classroom. First of all, let us take a look at the pros and cons of a monolingual classroom. A class where everyone has the same mother tongue can be much more interactive even beyond the classroom setting. The students are more likely to discuss the language points with each other even outside of the classroom and thus learn from each other. Hence the initiative to tackle difficult topics through the help of peers comes out naturally in a pupil in such scenarios. However, it is also important to note that the students are more likely to not use English as the primary language while they are discussing the lesson points, as they know that their peers also speak the same first language as them. Similarly the students may not feel comfortable speaking English as they may be confident enough in their ability or might feel like they could be judged by their friend thus naturally inclining towards a language in which they are confident in, and that is usually their first language. Hence for a student, such a preference of their native language can severely hinder the opportunity to practice English in a real world scenario with someone they can relate to. Now, coming to a multilingual classroom the obvious advantage here regarding peer interaction outside the classroom environment is that they are forced to use English as the primary language since it is the common factor among all of them. Thus they get more practice of the English language in a real world context outside of the classroom. But on the other hand the students may not interact with each other that often, as they might not be able to develop any personal connections with their classmates. Since language is often the conveyor of common beliefs and shared culture, one might feel it to be missing in someone who speaks a different language as them. Likewise, the students might also opt to develop friendly relation with those classmates that have the same L1 as them, if there are any, which might come up as a limiting factor even during the classroom activities. Therefore the presence of reluctance to openly interact with each other in a multilingual class can be a major barrier in the English language learning process by itself. As with most things, every characteristics of an English language classroom presents its own unique opportunities and limitations too. Nonetheless a teacher should not be discouraged if they have to teach in a classroom that is not in accordance to their personal preference. Rather it should be taken as an opportunity to grow and improve our own skill sets that we can employ in a classroom as a teacher. Since rarely anything is ideal, whenever we might have to tackle a situation that presents its own sets of challenges and opportunities, within a classroom environment, we need to adapt out teaching methodology in such a manner that it promotes all the helpful qualities and limits any hindrance. The similar case is also applicable while teaching either a monolingual class or a multilingual one.