Wednesday, August 22, 2007

English Only Policy in the Classroom

One of the greatest challenges as a teacher is to motivate students to use the language as much as possible in the classroom, and this is true both in the students' home country as well as overseas. In fact, although many students go overseas to study English, they often still use their native language with other students, and then really wonder why they aren't making progress in learning English. It doesn't take a math teacher to figure out why: If you attend English classes for four hours and then use your native language for the other twenty (or as many hours are you are awake), then it is impossible to learn English. Just being in the country is not enough, and unfortunately, the students' parents just assume their children are learning the language naturally.

Therefore, how can teachers and students encourage each other to use English more instead of falling back on the native language? Should the teacher reward or penalize students when they don't speak English? How about having students pay money each time they slip into their native language? Please share your ideas.



  1. Hi Randall,
    I'm an English teacher too. In my class, students pay 25 cents when they speak another language during class time. Unfortunately, this means that I have two jobs in the classroom - 1)teacher and 2)language police. Often I try to ask students to be the "language police", but no one likes to do it. It hasn't been very successful.
    - Liz in San Diego
    P.S. I like your blog and I'm thinking of doing something similar or sending students to it. Has it been working well?

  2. Hello Randall,
    I'm an english teacher from Brazil, and I work in a School which uses ESL method. It's really hard to make students speak English all the time, so I decided to say for them that they are charging to learn English , notPortuguese. well, it sometimes goes well but not all of them agree on the idea and continue speaking Portuquese.
    What should I do to Improve comunication among the students and persuade them speaking English?
    -Sandro in foz do IguaƧu-Brazil

  3. Hello, Mr.Randoll.
    I agree with EOP.
    I was studying English abroad for about two and a half months. That time, in my school, there was one rule. It's just English Only Policy.
    If students speak their native language there, they get the yellow card from teachers. And when they get it, they have to go back home. In the red card, they have to return to their country. Some people may think that it is too strict. But the rule was proposed by students. I think it reminds them that they are coming there for study English and it is one good way of improveing their English skills , especially , for people who really want to do.
    (However, actually teachers were not so strict and it might be only by way of warning...)
    Aya, Japan

  4. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!


Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.