The Challenge of Teaching English in a Heterogeneous Classroom

Main Article Content

Annette Svensson


The present study aims to explore in what ways teachers at upper secondary level work in a diverse classroom with particular focus on the students’ heterogeneous knowledge of the English language. This heterogeneity, the participants experience, is primarily caused by the discrepancy between those students who use English to a great extent outside the classroom through, for example, frequently playing computer games, and those students who do not use the English language at all outside a school context. In order to explore this aim, a pilot study was conducted where five teachers at upper secondary level were interviewed. The results show that this heterogeneity is their most challenging part of working as English teachers today. It thus adds to other factors, such as, multiculturalism, multilingualism, difficulties with reading and writing etc. and makes it an even more difficult task for teachers to support every student’s individualised learning. The results further show that despite the teachers’ attempts to differentiate the English education, there is a lack of, and need for, strategies that are useful to support an individualised learning in a heterogeneous classroom.

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How to Cite
Svensson, A. (2017). The Challenge of Teaching English in a Heterogeneous Classroom. Educare, (2), 56–80.
Author Biography

Annette Svensson, Jönköping University

Senior lecturer, Jönköping University