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Teaching English in Multilingual Context and Communities


English is now not only the language of native speakers because the non-natives have outnumbered them. There are only a few areas of the world where English is the only language, while all the other areas are multilingual. This trend has changed because of globalization as people move and learn new things. English has now become a global language that is used in all business settings. In order to cater to this need for teaching English, a proper mechanism should be formed to teach it in a multilingual context and communities. Different speech communities and languages should be integrated in a way that the development and language acquisition can be made possible.

In order to make this work, the most significant step is to understand the issues about the challenges and opportunities of teaching English in multilingual contexts and communities. The scope of teaching this language should be made clear.

The prominent issues involve dealing with the real identity of language and politics in language rights. This issue arises because even native speakers live in communities that are multilingual. This has made it possible to make a language ecology of English. There are various differences in people speaking this language including the difference in gender, educational background, geographical location, socio-economic status, and sexual preferences. All these challenges will be integrated into this essay with the help of strong arguments and critical perspectives.


The essential things in teaching English should be identified first to make it easily understandable in multilingual communities. Having an inspirational teaching technique for public engagement in a wide range of communities will help linguistic professors to achieve the goal (Flyman Mattsson & Norrby, 2013). English is now spoken all over the world, and it is not only a way of disseminating knowledge but used as a means of intercultural communication. Initiatives like TESOL face multiple challenges in communicating English effectively in multiple regions of the world for multicultural communities.

The level of challenges varies from operative techniques to teaching to the macro level planning of educational language. This is because the main issue in teaching a different language always occurs in multilingual and multicultural perspectives. As per the dynamics of the world, where most of the languages are near extinction, people and their parents have a craze to learn the English language, especially in developing countries. This acts as an aspiration and opportunity that plays a positive role in teaching the English language to multilingual communities. However, the main challenge is how to teach the English language in the presence of cultural diversity and addressing linguistics.

A person’s critical thinking ability, as well as creative skills, should be improved. This can only be done by making effective use of the prior language of the learner. Cultural language is helpful in learning English because it is a great resource. Though it is also a fact that English is considered a key factor for the economic success of a nation, it has contributed to generating inequalities in the political, economic, and social framework (Pennycook, 2017).

People focus on English language studies in multilingual communities because of two main reasons. The first one is that it strengthens the basis of the English language, and the second is the fact that it is helpful to improve the specialties of students. Mostly English is spoken by people who use it along with another language also. When English is used by people, either in a monolingual or multilingual perspective, the focus of language change shifts according to the thing they are working on. These are known as context-specific Englishes. These English vary based on the purpose of the language and the channel that is used for communication (Halliday & Hasan, 1989). This shows that if a paper is written in English while another one is written in Mathematics, its construction and writing will be different because of varying contexts. Even the grammar that is used in these different contexts is different, and it is not necessary that it use the same rule of Standard Grammar used in English. This is specific to the writing procedures that change grammar preferences (Martin & Rose, 2008). This shows that the choice of the user is a response according to the context in which he is using that particular language.

Englishes vary in multiple dimensions in their structure, meaning, and use because they have evolved in different areas of the world according to multicultural and multilingual contexts. The three dimensions are considered particularly including uses of Englishes, Users of Englishes, and modes of communication. These different dimensions can be used to understand independent language choices in different cultures. This is helpful in situating various language aspects of this three-dimensional model (Hasan, 2009).

The world has gone through various political and economic changes in the past few years, and this has had a significant impact on learning practices and tutoring English conversations. The impact is majorly seen in the multilingual context and communities. There is politics of language rights that influence the policies of language education and the practices that are followed in multilingual countries (Kumar et al., 2012). Globalization has a chief impact on this fact, and that is why different policies are used across multilingual nations for multilingual education.

Language rights have become a major issue for political theorists. Multiple political conflicts all over the world revolve around linguistic diversity. Questions on language policy and language rights are frequently raised that create an issue while teaching English in a multilingual context (Patten & Kymlicka, 2003). Some of the vast theoretical questions are attached to the language policy that leads to disputes. This is used as an insight into the study of democracy, globalization, ethnonationalism and some other wide-ranging phenomena that are becoming a focus for most of the public and academic settings.

Some of the issues that are identified in this politics of language rights include private use of language, education, official declarations, immigration, etc. Furthermore, these language rights are categorized into four different dimensions. The first dimension is promotion vs. tolerance-oriented rights. The second regime is related to official languages vs. norms and accommodation. The third regime includes territoriality vs. personality rights. Lastly, collective vs. individual rights are associated with the politics of language rights. These policies are often barriers to teaching English in multilingual communities because they are affected by linguistic policies.

Teaching English in different communities also has an influence on the ethnic conflicts in different settings. There are different learning strategies that should be integrated to improve the understanding and adoption of knowledge. The teaching and learning of English in a multilingual community is challenging for both sides, including teachers and students. Having an interactive session according to the prior knowledge of the reader is helpful in the reading pedagogy (Carrell & Eisterhold, 1983). All the issues in language teaching that are associated with the role of grammar should be analyzed by past trends. This is done because grammar has a close relationship with the meanings, discourse, and social function to make an autonomous system of learning (Celce-Murcia, 1991). The pedagogical techniques are used for communication to depict the role played by grammar in the teaching of language.

The use of the first language while teaching also plays a great role in teaching English in multilingual cultures. People’s literacy skills can be improved by integrating the first language into various capabilities. Teaching English is not only about making them capable of understanding English. The true purpose is to integrate all the literacy skills of the learners.

The first literacy skill to be focused on is enabling writing capabilities. The learners should be made capable enough that they can plan, think, and then write in English. Having brainstorming sessions and organizing and planning activities is important. If the feedback is given in the first language of students while teaching in multilingual communities, this will provide effective results. The students will understand it clearly and make comparisons about their capabilities across different languages.

The second literacy skill is the improvement of reading capabilities. When the texts are provided in English for reading, this will improve their understanding. Even if they are not capable of providing answers in English, this will act as an encouragement to respond in the language they are enabled to use.

The third literacy skill is refining speaking capabilities. This can only be done when the students’ ideas can be composed in their first language. Only then they will be able to translate ideas into the second language and convey them to others. The best pedagogy here is to tell the learners to jot down their ideas and then encourage them to speak. This will help them to be more confident in the transfer of ideas and eventually formulate strategies to build speaking capabilities.

The fourth and last literacy skill is enhancing listening competencies. This involves listening to various lectures and then making proper notes. At first, the speed of taking down notes may not be fast, but with time, it will adjust, and they will note every key point delivered by the instructor. While teaching English, the prominent thing is to make the learners understand the key things they should focus on while listening. When only the main ideas are focused, the supporting details are built in the brain automatically because of thinking patterns. This is an excellent strategy to build a mind map about the topic under discussion.

All these literacy skills can be improved by the integration of the first language in the learning process of English, especially in multilingual communities. These skills can then be used to develop higher-order skills that are used to improve critical thinking ability. The thinking ability to know the capabilities a person has across other languages will become a positive resource.

In order to teach English in a multilingual context, the most important thing is to make a teaching framework that is linguistically responsive. Linguistic learners need some particular qualities, and teachers should know what type of techniques should be used in a multilingual perspective to boost those qualities. The elements necessary in building up that framework are as follows.

The first element of this framework is having a sociolinguistic consciousness. The teacher of multilingual context must clearly understand culture, identity, language, and development for the awareness of sociopolitical dimensions. This will help in language education and use because people have different perceptions in various cultures. The language policies that have an effect on the language reforms of language learners should be reflected. A proper connection between literacy development and culture will be helpful in this regard. Another important element is giving value to the linguistic reforms. Showing a level of interest in the home language of diverse students can generate a positive impact on the attitude. This will make them more engaged in the learning process. The context of learning a second language should also be understood because students are learning this language because it is dominant. Therefore, giving respect to their home language will send a message of a welcoming and caring attitude. An environment of learning can be made even more productive in this way.

Whenever teaching English in a multicultural context and various communities, it is important to learn first about their experiences, backgrounds, and proficiencies because things are perceived differently in different cultural settings. The proficiency level of the learners should be identified first to teach them accordingly. This will be helpful in learning about the difficulties they face in learning. This important information can be obtained with the help of written or oral biographies and interviews. Arranging meetings with families can also be helpful in understanding the communities and home environment of the learner.

The teacher should work as an advocate to infuse more attention into the education program (Athanases & De Oliveira, 2011). This supports improving the learning experience of the learners. This important component must be understood by every teacher. It may have a different meaning in the local and international context, depending on the social and political factors. While preparing the teacher for delivering education, incorporating the ability to advocate is a key component to consider the resourceful use.

While teaching English in multilingual communities, an important factor is to understand the demands of language for classroom tasks and discourse. The politics of discourse should be understood while accessing the allocated course readings. There is a huge difference between textbook learning and students learning from classroom discourse. The instructor should understand the differences in the specific functions, vocabularies, and forms of linguistics in specific settings. For this purpose, the instructor should be skilled enough to conduct language analysis. This is normally not developed in the simple educational experience, so teachers should work on this skill separately. This will also be helpful in identifying the challenges associated with different assessment types and identification of linguistic features.

Instructional support is the concept that is also commonly known by the name of scaffolding. This is the integration of both the English language and academic content in the learning of students. This temporary support will be helpful in carrying out both the literacy tasks and academic language. There are multiple things involved in it, such as activating the prior knowledge of students, using written texts and multimodal materials, engaging in collaborative learning activities, modifying oral language and written text, and delivering explicit and clear instructions. All these things focus on heterogeneity, content integration, collaboration, experiential learning, and learner-centeredness (Garcia &Sylvan, 2011). These techniques are cooperative in promoting the learning process. These things take all the capabilities beyond the current context.

There are a few principles of learning a second language that should be kept in mind, especially while teaching English from a multilingual perspective. Proficiency in academic language is different from proficiency in the conversational language. So, the techniques should be shaped accordingly to achieve better results. The input level of information provided to the learners should be comprehensible. This will make it beyond their competence level and they will strive more to understand it in a better way.

The social interactions should be carried out in a way that they have a positive influence to fulfill the purpose of authentic communication. The learning of the recipient will be fostered because of this social communication and interaction. This helps as it increases the comfort level of the learner.

Another significant element to be considered in multilingual communities is that the skills, as well as concepts that are learned in the first language are transferred in the second language automatically (Myles & Mitchell, 2014). There is no need to learn everything anew. However, there can be an interference in the learning caused because of anxiety. The learner may feel anxious to perform in the second language.

There are certain knowledge, skills, and orientations that should be applied to the teachers to prepare them for teaching in multilingual communities. The variation in the context and curriculum is enormous. However, to minimize the redundancy, there is a determinate list of abilities that should be integrated for the linguistically approachable teachers. It is undeniable that multiculturalism and multilingualism are the realities in this globalized world. Therefore, teaching English is important to draw societies to the use of multiple languages.


English is a language that is becoming popular all over the world, and this has raised the variation in spoken English among various neighboring countries. Economies depend on this language because all business communication is carried out in this language. Therefore, various communities are now turning into multilingual or bilingual to compete in this dynamic environment. Many IELTS preparation institutes like greatly care while teaching English in these multilingual contexts and communities because differences exist in terms of culture, ethics, styles, grammar, and various other parameters. This report shows the use of various techniques to make the learning effect for the learners of multiple languages. This concept is related to the various English, politics of discourse, pedagogy and from the perspective of politics in language rights. The elements that are necessary for the framework of linguistically responsive teaching are discussed with relevance to the multilingual context.


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