When teaching english
to non-native speakers, class types fall into two main classifications. They are monolingual and multilingual groups. Both provide advantages and disadvantages to the teacher
. There are many arguments that defend the strategies on the techniques of teaching both groups. The greatest of these arguments revolves around whether an L1 language should or should not be used with in the class.
Monolingual groups are defined as groups that are made up of students that are from the same culture, speak the same language and in general are found in a non-english
speaking country. There are some exceptions to this as monolingual groups can be found in certain situations with in english
speaking countries, such as areas with a high population of refugees. In situations such as this many of the advantages related with multilingual groups can apply
. Multilingual groups are made up of students that do not have similar cultural backgrounds. They do not speak the same language. In general these groups will be found in english
For the most part the advantages of one group are the disadvantages of the other and vice versa. With monolingual groups the students tend to have the same areas of weakness with english
and therefore don't tend to widely range in language level and need. This is due to all having a similar cultural background and language. Whereas the disadvantage in having a common language is that it will always be a temptation to communicate in that language instead of english
during class. Often times with monolingual groups the students are not attending because of a personal want to learn but are attending out of compulsion. This can cause the students to have a low motivation for learning. With multilingual groups it can be the opposite. They do not have a common language other than english
. Because they tend to live in english
speaking countries they have to use english
in and out of the classroom. This greatly increases their exposure to the language both actively and passively, which promotes fluency, thus allowing the teacher
to focus more on accuracy with in the classroom. Multilingual groups also have a higher motivation for learning. Decisions that they have made in life lead to many of the students desiring to learn english
. The disadvantages of multilingual group can create difficulties when teaching. Due to having a wide range of cultural and language backgrounds some students will naturally have an easier time with the english
language then others. Students will also have different problem points within the language that others will not have. Unfortunately this can cause gaps between language levels in the class.
Even if the teacher
knows the students L1, it is best that they only speak in english
during the class. This is especially is true in multilingual groups as the teacher
will not know every student's language and some students may feel left out or neglected. As far as students using their L1 it is always best for the students to speak as much as possible in english
but there are time when using their L1 can save time and frustration. It is a question of whether or not using their L1 hinders or promotes the students learning of english
. This is something that will have to be determined by the teacher
in the given situation.