Teaching Mixed Ability Classes

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6 key ideas and 6 practical tasks about how we can be more effective in teaching Mixed Ability Classes.

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  • Track taken from ‘Look Up 5 – KSA’ (p. 52)
  • Screenshot from ‘Family and Friends 3’
  • All the words are taken from the Workbook of ‘Family and Friends 5’
  • All the words are taken from the Workbook of ‘Family and Friends 3’
  • Teaching Mixed Ability Classes

    1. 1. Teaching Mixed Ability Classes By Nick Michelioudakis
    2. 2. • To look at how we can adapt materials for Mixed Ability classes. • To consider ways of ensuring weaker learners participate while stronger students still feel challenged. • To ensure we do not undermine the confidence of weaker learners. Session Aims
    3. 3. • You are going to listen to a description of two beautiful places in Saudi Arabia. • WS Task: Write down the numbers you hear (there are 10 of them). • SS Task: Write down the numbers you hear AND what they refer to. A1: Different Tasks [Receptive Skills]
    4. 4. • Work in pairs. You are going to tell your partner a little story – that happened to you, BUT you are going to include 3 lies in it. [Keep your story short: 2-3 min max]. • Before you start, make a note of these 3 lies on a piece of paper (don’t show it to your partner yet!). • As you tell the story, your partner has to guess which are the 3 lies. • They score a point for each one they get right. • Let me share a little story with you – what are the 3 lies? A2: Self-adjusting Activities
    5. 5. • Andrew was not dyslexic. • He liked a sit-com – not documentaries. • When he passed his exams, they did not change his marks; they moved him up the streams. A2: Self-adjusting Activities
    6. 6. • Work in pairs. Decide who is going to be the WS and who is going to be the SS. • SS: You are going to study a picture for 30 seconds (try to remember it in detail!). • WS: You are going to study a description of the same picture for 30 seconds. • The description differs from the picture in some details. Together, you have to describe the picture to each other (from memory) so as to spot these differences. A3: Collaborative Tasks
    7. 7. A3: Collaborative Tasks
    8. 8. There are many things on the bed. There are 6 books – 3 near the suitcase and 3 more inside it. There are many yellow pencils on the bed. Next to them there are 4 T-shirts. There are also 2 shirts on the other side of the suitcase. The one on top is mostly red with white buttons. The one under it is green. There are two pairs of trousers in front of the suitcase (one is green and the other one is brown). On the floor there is a pair of brown shoes and a bottle of water. A3: Collaborative Tasks
    9. 9. There are many things on the bed. There are 6 books – 3 near the suitcase and 3 more inside it. There are many yellow pencils on the bed. Next to them there are 4 T-shirts. There are also 2 shirts on the other side of the suitcase. The one on top is mostly red with white buttons. The one under it is green. There are two pairs of trousers in front of the suitcase (one is green and the other one is brown). On the floor there is a pair of brown shoes and a bottle of water. A3: Collaborative Tasks
    10. 10. • This is a dictation task. Work in pairs. One of you (the WS) is the runner; the other one (the SS) does the writing. • The text is on the wall at the front of the class. • The WS has to run up to it, memorise as much as he can and go back to dictate it to his partner (the SS). Then he has to go back for more. • The pair who manage to finish first are the winners (provided they got the spelling right, that is!  ) A4: Different Roles
    11. 11. Papyrus - In Ancient Egypt people wanted to make paper to write on. 3,000 years ago there were lots of papyrus plants in Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians used papyrus to make a kind of paper. It was difficult to make but it was light and easy to write on. People in other countries started to use papyrus too. But papyrus was very expensive. Only rich people used it. Sometimes people used the papyrus then washed it and used it again. A4: Different Roles
    12. 12. • Work in pairs. • You will be given a vocabulary quiz. • You will have two minutes to answer as many of the questions as you can. • You have to answer at least 20 questions. • Good luck!  A5: Setting a low threshold level
    13. 13. Work in pairs. Decide who is going to be the SS and who is going to be the WS. You will both need pen and paper. To play the game you have to take turns. First the SS chooses a word (it is a ‘difficult’ word) and writes it down on a piece of paper without showing it to his/her partner. Then s/he speaks for 20-30 seconds; during this time s/he has to use this word at least once. While the SS is speaking, the WS has to listen carefully and note down all the ‘difficult’ words that the SS uses. Then s/he has to try to guess which word the SS has on his/her slip of paper. S/he has 3 guesses. A6: Different Level [Productive Skills]
    14. 14. billboards
    15. 15. charity trophy additives banknote receipt volunteer carvings manual lungs maze HIDE THE WORD – [HARD]
    16. 16. onion playground waterfall elbow shower path toothbrush cereal bridge helicopter HIDE THE WORD – [EASY]
    17. 17. • We can use the same materials, but give different students different tasks. • We can give students self-adjusting activities. • We can give students collaborative tasks. • We can give students different roles. • We can give students an open-ended task and set a low achievement threshold. • We can give students the same task but at a different level of difficulty. What can we do with MA groups?
    18. 18. Hope you found the session useful  NB: All the video clips you have watched today can be found on YouTube under ‘Comedy for ELT’ or ‘Psychology and ELT’. If you have any comments feel free to contact me at nickmi@ath.forthnet.gr

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