The Advantages of Speaking Only English in ESL Classes

by | Language Training

English is one of the most important languages to learn when communicating with people internationally. It’s a globally used language where it’s estimated at least 1.35 billion people speak native and non-native English. Being able to communicate effectively in a country where English is the primary language is essential to communication. English as a Second Language classes – or ESL classes – are taught to non-native speakers in the English language environment. They are offered for all ages at all levels of learning, where people can learn to speak, read, listen, and write in English.

The goal of ESL classes is for people is to learn English as efficiently as possible in a way that helps them understand and retain the knowledge that can help them communicate better with others who speak English. Many ESL teachers are leaning into only speaking English in ESL classes to help accelerate their students’ learning in an immersive English language environment.

There is a lot of debate about whether implementing an English-only policy is effective or efficient in helping students learn English. Some teachers may look at it as a negative environment where students are left unable to communicate. In reality, there are clear advantages that benefit the teacher and the students.

What is an English-Only Policy?

An English-only policy is when a teacher decides that only English is to be spoken in an ESL class environment. The teacher requires that students will exclude any other language from communication. With an English-only policy, the intent is to help provide students with more opportunities to work through learning the English language and have an increased chance of practice when they are forced only to speak English.

Advantages of an English-Only Policy

Learning a language is never an easy task, no matter which language you want to learn. The best way to learn is to immerse the student in the environment in a way that helps them begin to think in the language. These are some of the benefits of learning in an English-only environment:

#1 Students Can Learn to Express Themselves in English

By only allowing English in ESL classes, students begin to think their thoughts in English and get more familiar with the language in a way that helps them become more confident and encourages them to experiment more.

#2 ESL Classes Are Easier to Manage

Teachers can manage the student’s communication much better in a way that teachers can help facilitate conversations and keep unnecessary conversations in check.

#3 Students Develop Better Problem Solving

English-only classes force students to find solutions and think outside of the box to find new and better ways to communicate and help deliver their questions and responses to their teacher. These skills can help them through the class with implementing solutions they can use again in future classroom discussions.

#4 Students Have Improved Listening Skills

Students will learn to build stronger listening skills essential in learning a new language.

#5 Socializing Becomes Much Easier

When students are learning a new language together, they are learning how to socialize in their new language, and as they grow in their communication, they can encourage and help each other in learning new skills.

Although insisting students only speak one language can be daunting, and there will be slip-ups, creating an environment where only speaking English should be a fundamental goal. There are clear advantages to an English-only policy that can help students thrive and learn English in a way that can help them become better listeners, communicators, and speakers.

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