Classes of mixed abilityIn classes of mixed ability, teachers will be in a predicament of teaching English to students
of all skill levels. This can range from children who are complete beginners of English, to students
who are nearly bilingual. Admittedly, these students
should be in different classes, but in some situations such as public school, there may be no choice, but to put them together. Other variables come into play in a classroom, but in this article we will focus on the dynamics of a mixed ability classroom. At first this arrangement might seem to be a complete disadvantage; however there are a few advantages and many opportunities to turn each student
?s skill set into a practical part of learning.
In every class, no matter what subject matter or skill level, each student
will have strengths and weaknesses. All students
learn differently as well. Remember, students
can help each other. Their differences can unite to do exceptional work. Place the students
in groups or pairs, (depending on the layout of your classroom) that work well together. Partner a strong student
with a weak student
, a visual learner with one who loves to read, a grammar fanatic with a vocabulary expert. students
can give each other support including helping each other when they get stuck. To make these partnerships work, teachers must create an atmosphere that allows teamwork. Having a relaxed and happy classroom can be one of the biggest steps to learning and cooperation. If teachers only encourage competition or calls upon the same students
to answer questions, other students
will fall through the cracks. Some students
may feel stupid and incompetent or even hate the class. However, if teachers give support and opportunities to all students
, there will be a visible recognition that the students
are learning and doing well in class.
Flexibility is the way to teach a class of mixed level students
. In a way, teachers are jugglers, taking all the variables of a classroom and keeping them moving smoothly in a circle. Sometimes you must move to grab a ball thrown to high. Other times you have to juggle two balls while waiting for the third one to fall from the sky and somebody else throws a rubber chicken for you to catch. It can be hard, but not impossible.
First, start with the basics that a tesol
course teaches. Always make sure there is an engage, study, and activate phase in every lesson. It may seem obvious, but little steps matter. There are ways these phases can connect with students
of different levels. students
of all proficiencies can understand pictures. Gestures also help lower skilled students
comprehend English, while it keeps the focus of more experienced students
. Activate activities can also be tweaked to fit the abilities of the students
. Role-plays work well, because students
create dialogues between themselves. Once students
understand the rules, games are also great ways to learn. All students
can participate as long as the game isn?t skilled versus unskilled participants. Lastly, Use the same basic vocabulary, so that all students
understand your instructions, while teaching each lesson differently. When each class is taught differently, it is more interesting and caters to different learning styles, giving every student
a chance to learn.
Another big concern is that a mixed classroom will leave higher students
bored. If the work is too easy for some students
, try making assignments slightly harder. For example, if all of the students
are drawing and labeling things in their house, you can have a more advanced student
create a new house, or draw and label things in their town. An equally valid idea is to always have extra work. After they complete the easy assignment, a crossword puzzle or fascinating reading will keep students
occupied, while being fun and educational.
I believe that teachers can do well in a mixed class if they try their best. My advice is to have extra materials, make the classroom fun and relaxed, and always be flexible. Teachers have to consider a lot between, class size, age, skills, and many other factors. Yet, they know their class better than anyone else and they know what works with their students