Teaching a multi-level English class is a daunting task for most English teachers. You want to ensure that each student is appropriately catered for and gets the most out of the learning experience. While multi-level classes may be challenging, they also have advantages providing that you follow a few guidelines.
Before the class you should take the time to determine the needs of each of your students and identify the current level they are working at. This need not be a long process. You can make a simple grid or spreadsheet which states each student’s name, their current level and their individual needs or additional notes which may be helpful to refer to in class.
Use Self-Access Materials
These are different types of learning materials that are available for students of your class to use independently. You may want to place them in a corner and state at the beginning of the class that if some parts of the lesson are too complex or not challenging enough then they are allowed to flick through the self access materials and choose an activity that they would like to work on. This works best for a college class or adult learners.
Use a Theme
If your class is extremely varied in their learning abilities it can be very hard to teach just from one text book. You can try assigning a single theme throughout the whole class, which will allow you to stay on one topic while working with the different ability levels of you students. Some great theme ideas include animals and household pets, the weather, foods, jobs and leisure activities. You may even want to ask your students to suggest some ideas for themes to use in the next class.
You can review the grid you prepared before class and use it to organize your students into groups. Instead of organizing them into groups based solely on their development level, you actually want to create a mixed group with people of different ability levels. This way stronger member of the group will be able to help the other students through an activity, which will benefit all members of the group.
Use Peer Tutoring
Identify the students who are interested in peer tutoring. These students need not be the most advanced students in class. Instead it can be people who are interested in tutoring and mentoring others. You will then want to pair up appropriate students with them, and get them to work on an activity or task together. One of the best ways to learn English if to be able to teach others what you already know, regardless of what level they are currently at.
Use a Variety of Activities
Try to incorporate a number of different activities into your class that use both audio and visual stimuli. Some ideas for activities include puzzles and games, using colourful artwork, bringing in photographs from home, using a computer, group warm-ups and storytelling.
The author of this article, Amy is a freelance proofreader for companies such as Cambridge Proofreading and others. Visit the website. She enjoys writing on the topic of English language learning and acquisition.