In international schools, students come from various linguistic backgrounds. In this scenario how can we teach students in their native language.

In international schools, students come from various linguistic backgrounds. In this scenario how can we teach students in their native language?

It would certainly be perplexing and cause misunderstanding among the students. Maybe, when the majority of the class are natives, the mother tongue can be used for abstract contexts

I do not deny the fact that children can grasp and learn subjects with ease in their mother tongue, but they are put under a lot of strain to practice learning all their subjects in English.

I believe English should be taught in the primary stage itself. English plays a predominant role in national and international education, employment, commerce, immigration, migration etc. So, it should be mandatory to teach children in English at the primary level itself. At later stages it is difficult to learn

To cite an example, When I was in first few years of teaching oral fluency in English I adopted the translation method (as a trial method) of converting sentences from mother tongue to English. It took a long time for translation of sentences into English because the grammar structure is completely different in both the languages and the beginners had a hard time with the translations. Consequently, it was a complete failure. Then I gave them elementary English story books to read and narrated the stories in English. It was a better and faster practice.

At the beginning, it is hard to teach a class in a foreign language. As the days pass, they begin to acquire understanding and ability tongue in the same language. ‘Practice makes Perfect’ as the saying goes. If you want to learn a foreign language you have to practise it for a long time and use of mother tongue could be minimised to learn the language with ease.

In international schools, students come from various linguistic backgrounds. In this scenario how could we teach each student in their native language? As the classroom is multilingual, the teachers are trained in English and teaching and learning takes place in English only. Students native languages are not used in classrooms.

In state school systems, it is more prevalent among teachers to use their L1 in classrooms for their teaching convenience. Many teachers are not trained in English and thereby even in English medium schools, the mother tongue plays a dominant role in teaching. At the same time, the complaint is that the students do not do well in English. How can the students be communicative in English if they are taught in mother tongue? When they come to colleges they find it hard to communicate in English. As a result they are devoid of employment opportunities and a question mark hangs over their future.

Any language has to be learnt in its own form and occurrence. English as an international mode of communication has to be learnt through English only but L1 could be useful when the situation requires it.

References:

Multilingual classrooms: opportunities and challenges for English medium instruction in low and middle income contexts

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