Teach English in BArenzhelimu Zhen - Xing'an Meng — Hinggan

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It is a fact that the English language functions as a global lingua franca, an internationally spoken common language used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language. Being the universal language means that English is the most widely taught language. Properly trained TEFL teachers, (those who Teach English as a Foreign Language), come across many challenges when working with ESL students. There are two basic classroom environments in this concept, the monolingual and the multilingual classroom environment. Monolingual classes consist of students speaking the same language and are usually found in non-English speaking countries, such as Germany, Italy, China etc. In multilingual classes there is a potpourri of students who do not share the same mother tongue and are of a diverse cultural background. These classes are most often found in English speaking countries, like Canada, the USA, Australia etc. In both classroom environments the TEFL teacher has to take into account the mixed abilities of the students, their different interests and make sure they are always motivated and enthusiastic about learning. A TEFL teacher ought to consider the pros and cons involved in both environments before walking into either classroom. First of all, in a monolingual group, the students’ natural tendency to communicate in their own language prompts them to talk to each other more freely or provide help to their peers in case of difficulty (e.g. by explaining the teacher’s instructions or assisting the weaker ones by translating into their mother tongue). In such group the teacher has to deal with students who have similar problems learning English, make the same type of errors and it is easier for him/her to tailor lessons to meet their needs. Furthermore, a monolingual group of students engages into discussions of themes and topics related directly to their culture more easily and the class becomes so vibrant! However, getting students to strictly use English in a monolingual class is challenging. For most of them the course is often mandatory (as part of the school curriculum or are forced by parents to attend lessons in a private school of English) , therefore, they lack the genuine desire to learn. It is the teacher’s responsibility to develop the motivation and practice opportunities in English and help them recognize the value of it. Since they live in a non-English speaking country they are not exposed to the English language much outside the classroom and this, along with the fact that they use their mother tongue inside class, has a negative impact on their progress in learning. The main reason why students avoid using English as much in class is due to feelings of inferiority when they compare themselves to their classmates. They become reluctant in fear of being mocked by their peers or even the teacher. On the other hand, the situation differs when a TEFL teacher is called to teach a multilingual group of students. Here, everyone is obligated to use English as a common language to communicate with no other choice. This way, not only are students exposed to more English, but it also helps them learn faster. Moreover, students who attend a multilingual class are usually highly motivated and have a strong desire to learn English for further study purposes or greater job opportunities. Also, discussions taking place in upper-intermediate and advanced levels become very interesting since they all have a different cultural experience to share and learn from each other. In order for this class to be successful the TEFL teacher ought to take into consideration the capabilities and the cultural and linguistic diversity of his/her students. That is to say, the students in a multilingual group undoubtedly have different learning speeds, quite often do not have a similar language structure or word order, or even, numbering system in their mother tongue and their specific culture norms might hinder their participation in pair/group work because some of them may be used to a single-sex classroom, or others may be used to a more traditional, stricter way of learning where they expect a teacher-centered class to name a few. For a strong class dynamic the TEFL teacher can run a ‘Needs Analysis’ , find out about their culture specifics and work around them in view of greater participation. Consequently, potential troubles do exist in both the monolingual and multilingual classroom environments and TEFL teachers must be able to gradually do away with or limit them. In doing so, they ought to adapt and develop their own teaching skills and come up with a variety of activities to fit the miscellaneous needs of the students in each group. Individual problems need personal attention but a teacher does not want the rest of the class feeling bored. Apparently, in monolingual beginners classes teachers are expected to use simple grammar and vocabulary, make use of gestures and visuals (never assume that all students understand) and adjust their speed of talking just like they would do when teaching the multilingual groups. They should encourage and reward (not bribe) the use of English in the classroom but must not insist that silent students answer or force the shy ones to come up on the board in neither classroom environment. Group work activities is an effective way to engage all types of students , stronger ones with weaker ones or those of mixed cultural background and when assigning homework it could be specific practice in general exercises for all. All in all, for some TEFL teachers teaching in a multilingual classroom environment seems more challenging than doing so in a monolingual one in that there are plenty of troublesome areas, such as in both the receptive and the productive skills of the individuals, in the grammatical and language structures of English which are totally different from those of the students’ mother tongue and even getting them to distinguish tenses or use prepositions and articles becomes a nightmare for all. Regardless of the difficulties which may arise in either environment, it is my firm belief that when the TEFL teacher manages to establish a strong rapport with the students and boost their self esteem in their effort to use English every time in the classroom , students will respond and perform effectively and they will eventually become fluent ESL students. REFERENCES https://writingcenter.unc.edu/teaching-multilingual-students/ teflhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_franca