The present state of anarchy plaguing the English language teaching scenario of the vernacular medium schools of India calls for a sound pedagogical practice of multilingual teaching suitable for the Indian context, not the Euro-centric multilingual pedagogy used in the USA or the UK. A teacher teaching English in a multilingual setting should use a multilingual pedagogy built on her awareness of the languages used by her pupils as their first languages. Based on the teacher’s awareness of the languages used by her pupils, a set of multilingual strategies should be developed to nurture the linguistic competence of the pupils in their first language as well as in the target language.
An explicit knowledge about languages available in her immediate neighbourhood and an awareness of the language used by her pupils and a a sensitivity to the languages of the learners …… these are some of the prerequisites for a teacher using multilingual strategies in her English class room. Soliciting responses from her pupils, a teacher can promote questioning about language to develop linguistic understandings of her pupils. A teacher teaching English and the regional language at the primary level should try to find out ways of creatively exploiting the different languages available in a given classroom. The English teacher interested in using a multilingual strategy should tap into their pupils’ familiarity with more than one languages to advance the learning of the target language. Bringing one language to another is the essence of a multilingual pedagogy used for developing the linguistic as well as the cognitive abilities of the pupils who come from a non-English speaking background. By using cognitively challenging tasks in multiple languages , the English teacher may turn the language class into simplified version of a linguistics class which aims at generating enough linguistic inputs for the pupils as well as the teacher to reflect and learn
A multilingual language awareness is a must for teachers of multilingual pupils. Teachers should understand the important role that the first language plays on the development of a second language and of the interdependence of the languages known to the pupils. English teachers working in a multilingual context should be capable of building on their pupils’ first language and literacy to develop literacy in the target language.