YOUNG LEARNERS’ SIG
1st SEMESTER 2010
THE YL MIXED ABILITY CLASSES
Tick the most frequent problems you face when teaching YL mixed ability classes:
( ) Some students finish activities fast while others take a life time.
( ) ‘Stronger’ students participate more than others.
( ) I don’t how to ‘level’ the activities.
( ) ‘Stronger’ students get bored or disturb while you explain and/or develop activities with ‘weaker’ ones.
( ) Some students seem not to get involved.
( ) Some students seem to block when you start speaking English.
( ) I don’t know how to split them for group work (weaker x stronger, motivated x unmotivated, etc).
( ) Some students don’t even try.
( ) Some students like moving, others like quieter activities.
What’s a mixed Different learning Styles
ability class? Different linguistic levels
Different personality/ interests
Lack of Strategies
What are the adv. ADVANTAGES DISADVANTANGES
and disadv of MA • It forces teachers to think about differences and take it into • It demands time and extra work.
classes? account. • Grouping ss is not always easy.
• Ss learn from each other and exchange experiences • Some teachers feel guilty about ‘judging’ ss and accepting ss are not
• Teachers don’t only teach language, but also moral skills. ‘equal’ and do not learn in the same speed and way.
• Ss learn to share and respect others as unique beings. • Some students feel overloaded with extra work.
• Ss learn to deal with differences. • There is too much to be taken into consideration.
• Ss are motivated for being challenged in an achievable way. • Adapting and organizing activities demand discipline from teachers.
• Little time with students in class to really get to know them. When
you get to ‘the’ point, it is time to say goodbye.
How to change to a • Estabilish eye contact
mixed ability • Nominate students to answer questions
lesson? • Ask easy questions to weaker students
• Use checking questions for understanding
• Praise students
• Set a limit time before they begin
• Bring topics of interest
• Balance different kinds of activities
• Cater for different learning Styles
• Know your ss learning level: What are they able to do?
• Give feedback
• Assess their progress, not a single ‘test’.
• Have contingency plans.
• Give them some choice to choose things in class.
• Be explicit about why not all are doing the same thing
• Balance is the key word
• Give clear instructions
• Create stations in class and/or files with needs
How to cope with Grading activities (ss work on the same material but on different challenges and activities)
mixed ability Having activities with different responses (ss work in groups to get different responses from different students)
classes? Open-ended activities: the same activity with different responses: journals, choosing vocab to learn, question lists, wall crawl
Adapting Extending/ Grading Co-operation and Peer Questioning
Why? Why? Why?
Fit students’ needs All students are challenged Learning from ‘equals’ and/or a peer
Meet students’ needs All students may succeed Lowering affective filter.
How? How? How?
Changing the activity level (easy – Proposing different questions and Grouping sts well accordingly – you must
medium – hard) different kinds of activities know them well
Changing the topic according to sts’ Having different hand-outs
Having stations in class (easy – medium –
hard – early finishers)
Look back to the problems. Can you find ‘solutions’ for them?
Here you have some food for thought…
Including X Excluding
Mixed-ability classes X Classroom management