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How to teach heterogeneous groups

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1 How to teach heterogeneous groups
MIXED-ABILITY CLASS How to teach heterogeneous groups

2 Heterogeneous/Mixed-ability class:
It is a group in which children of varied abilities are taught together rather than being set apart in groups according to level.

3 Adapting materials for mixed-ability classes can take different forms:
Rewrite reading texts and grade the language accordingly for different levels. However it is extremely time consuming and not many teachers can actually go to this lenght to adapt materials. A danger that children will instantly realise that they have been labelled as a weak or strong student.

4 READING Stronger students: Weaker students:
- rewrite a part of the text in a different tense/person - write their personal opinion/a summary of the text - write question about the text - write new vocabulary up on the board with definitions Weaker students: - if there are gaps, give students the answers in a jumbled order - break the text into chunks and give the opinion of only reading some of the texts - pre-teach difficult vocabulary and leave it written on the board for students to refer to

5 LISTENING Stronger: Weaker:
- focus on the accents or of the speakers and get students to copy chunks - if it´s a true/false activity, follow on by asking why/why not? - give out the tape script and look up tricky words/expressions in a dictionary to then explain to the group Weaker: - pre-teach vocabulary, use visual if possible - give them time to discuss answers before feeding back to the class - give them the tape script on second listening - if it´s a gap fill, supply the words with a few extras

6 WRITING Stronger: Weaker:
- give creative tasks that students can do at their own level - increase the word limit - indicate where they could use more interesting ways of saying something - indicate mistakes using correction code to give students a chance to self correct Weaker: - reduce the word limit - encourage use of dictionaries - correct the draft together before students copy up it - pair or group weaker students with stronger students

7 SPEAKING Stronger: Weaker:
- ask students to justify/defend their opinions - ban easy words like „nice“ to push their vocabulary to a higher level - get students to record themselves and self-correct - pair students of higher level together so they really go for it Weaker: - give them time to rehearse their ideas before a role play or discussion - pair weak and strong together - let them make notes before the speaking - give them more listening and thinking time before calling on them to answer questions

8 Tips for good classroom management with M-A groups:
GROUPING: - depending on the task and the class dynamics - there are usually opportunities for both types of grouping - to experiment with mixing up the strong and weak students

9 GIVING INSTRUCTIONS: - giving clear instructions - use hand gestures as well as words to explain the tasks - use stronger students to check back the instructions

10 ERROR CORRECTION: - don´t over correct weak students - encourage students to correct one another

11 SETTING GOALS: - it will help to focus the students
- the goals can be different for each student and depending on their level

12 SOME STRATEGIES: DISCUSSION AND NEEDS ANALYSIS: have an open class discussion about the classroom situation to ensure the best for everyone to agree how to deal with it it is the best to stage and structure the discussion to prompt the students to reflect upon their learning style, learning strategies, language needs, enjoyment, motivation, language strenght and weaknesses

13 Questions: What kinds of class activities do you enjoy/benefit from?
Which language skills do you most wish to develop? Do you prefer working individually or with a partner? Would you rather sit and listen to the teacher all lesson or participate in group work?

- encourage students to develop an awareness of their own language abilities and learning needs

15 RANGE OF TASKS: - this involves creating or providing tasks for different levels

16 EXTRA WORK/HOMEWORK: give different students different homework for weaker students HW which really does consolidate the class work for stronger students work that will widen their knowledge or put it to the test a little more – they need the feedback writing tasks are great for HW

17 ERROR CORRECTION: have different expectation of the language the different students produce it can push stronger students if you correct them heavily, although be sensitive about it! for weaker students, be more selective in your error correction

18 WORK GROUPINGS: You may consider dividing your class into groups by level for the whole lesson, enabling you to give a different level or number of tasks to each group

19 PAIR WORK: strong with strong, weak with weak or strong with weak – variety in the pairings is the key GROUP WORK: groups could be of mixed levels or similar ones WHOLE CLASS-MINGLES: is a favoured strategy. Involves students talking/interacting with many different members of the class in a short period of time in order to achieve a task -> this supports the weaker students and provides opportunities for the stronger ones


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