The main principle at EDUC@TIONAL DYNAMICS is the use of the MONOLINGUAL APPROACH; this means that L2 is used throughout the courses regarding all classes of learners from Kindergarten through Proficiency (C2) and beyond (adults & professionals). To achieve this objective, a blend of traditional and modern teaching methods is used. These methods are delivered via a wide range of teaching techniques. The methods used are:
- Audio-lingual Method
- Direct Teaching Method
- Communicative Language Teaching Method
- Student-centred Method
- Experiential Method
- Bridging Technique*
- The 8 Stages of Active Learning*
- Multi-Effect Project of Active Learning*
*Techniques and teaching approaches / methodologies which have been developed by Eugenia Papaioannou and are described in her book Optimise Your Teaching Competences: New Teaching Methodologies and CLIL Applications in Foreign Languages -ISBN: 9781491738795
These methods are assisted by the use of new technologies and this combination has proved over the years the best way to teach, help the learners acquire knowledge and develop skills and competences which open new doors for personal development and professional success later in life.
Monolingual vs. bilingual system (extract from Optimise Your Teaching Competences: New Teaching Methodologies and CLIL Applications in Foreign Languages -ISBN: 9781491738795)
It is worth examining how one can optimise the learning process and efficiently affect the development of the skills of the learners in the target language regarding time availability and fulfilment of objectives in any given course in L2, English in this case. It is also worth considering the uncertainty felt by a great number of teachers of foreign languages about which the right teaching approach is. While this uncertainty sustains, a lot of L1 is still involved in the teaching process. Consequently, not only is immediacy lost, but valuable time is also wasted bouncing from L1 to L2 and vice versa.
Using L1 as a medium to teach L2 or a module in L2 does not bring about the best results for the learners. This happens because when using the mother tongue to explain and translate, the learner cannot learn the target language in its context and, consequently, cannot acquire fluency or accuracy in L2.
On the other hand, if a learner is exposed only to L2 either when learning a foreign language or when studying a module in the target language, they acquire the target language and the target module accurately without the interference of L1. This way the benefit of using only L2 has multiple positive effects.
One must consider that each language is autonomous, has its own rules and grammar usage and cannot be efficiently delivered via the function of another language. Additionally, even loan words usually retain the initial meaning they had in the deriving language but now they have evolved in the lending language (L1) and mean something different and thus causing confusion to the learners if they associate them with the current meaning in the mother tongue.
When learning in a bilingual system, where both languages are used (L1 & L2), a constant ‘conflict’ occurs in the brain of the learner who in the short and long term:
- is trained to comprehend L2 mainly via L1 (constant translation)
- learns to be assisted by existing vocabulary/structures in L1
- cannot help using similar structures with L1
- does not comprehend usage that does not exist in L1
- lacks fluency and accuracy in both speaking and writing
- is obstructed by constant translation that occurs in the brain
- is obstructed from developing reading and listening skills
- is eventually demotivated from learning L2 or subject content in L2
- does not easily develop interest in learning foreign languages
Using L2 throughout the teaching-learning process brings about multiple benefits to the learner who:
- learns L2 in context
- associates new vocabulary with the foundations that have been laid by the educator
- comprehends the usage of L2 in its own function
- comprehends and appreciates L2 culture
- is constantly motivated to think, speak and write in L2
- naturally develops reading and listening skills
- gains fluency in both speaking and writing
- develops interest in learning foreign languages
- becomes an independent learner
The advantages for the learner are obvious in the latter case as the target language is taught without the medium of L1 and the learner is exposed to L2 for the entire teaching time. Moreover, L2 is not obstructed in the brain of the learner by the mother tongue interference.
Furthermore, everyone knows that each language functions quite differently and autonomously. Similarities between some languages in some structures cannot form the rule. Each language is a different ‘organism’ with its own function that only by coincidence has similar usage in some areas with another language. Consequently, it is beneficial for a learner to acquire knowledge of a foreign language and develop their linguistic skills in its own context and system. It becomes essential, therefore, to create a learning environment that will support a monolingual system.
Finally, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) calls for an effective monolingual system to ensure sustainable long-term learning.