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  1. #1
    AmyKulishova is offline Newbie
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    mixed skills level class

    I have been asked to teach business English to a mixed skills level group. Two of my students are beginners (and hardly understand English), one is pre-intermediate, one is intermediate and one is an unknown and yet to be tested.
    How do I go about teaching these classes?
    I was thinking of using pair and group work a lot and teaching the same topics but giving different hand-outs to the students (level appropriate). Is there anything else I can do or a better way to approach this?
    Last edited by AmyKulishova; 17-Jul-2012 at 11:14. Reason: incorrect title

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: mixed skills level class

    Quote Originally Posted by AmyKulishova View Post
    I have been asked to teach business English to a mixed skills level group. Two of my students are beginners (and hardly understand English), one is pre-intermediate, one is intermediate and one is an unknown and yet to be tested.
    How do I go about teaching these classes?
    I was thinking of using pair and group work a lot and teaching the same topics but giving different hand-outs to the students (level appropriate). Is there anything else I can do or a better way to approach this?
    Having been in this situation and while challenging, I have treated each as independent groups. I don't see any advantage in applying what you refer to as "same topics". The one advantage you have is that each group is/would be small.

  3. #3
    AmyKulishova is offline Newbie
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    Re: mixed skills level class

    Thank you very much.

  4. #4
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
    I'm With Stupid is offline Senior Member
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    Re: mixed skills level class

    I'll qualify this by saying that I haven't taught mixed-level classes before, so this is just conjecture.

    It's not ideal and it takes more work, but remember you can grade tasks as much as texts, especially for skills-based lessons. For example in a reading text, your lower level students could be given multiple choice/true or false questions, while your higher levels are given more detailed questions or the same questions with no options. In a listening task, perhaps the lower level students could be given a transcript to read at the same time. Grammar will always be an issue. But I've always been impressed with students' ability to pick up a piece of functional language that they haven't learned the grammar for yet, as long as it's presented in a meaningful context. This is despite the usual "How can I teach them this? They haven't learned the past continuous yet."

    If you can get hold of it, I would suggest you read Scott Thornbury's book, Teaching Unplugged, which follows the Dogme methods. One of them is no grading of classes. I haven't read it myself, but I am a regular reader of his blog, and I assume he has good evidence-based reasons for this (I've read some of his other work and he's pretty good).

  5. #5
    AmyKulishova is offline Newbie
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    Re: mixed skills level class

    Thank you. What you described with the more in-depth questions for the higher level students is what I was thinking of.

    The company that has requested the lessons, has allowed me to first work with the beginners as they are "ground-level" beginners and I will help them with the foundations of English. Only when they are more comfortable with the use of English will the rest of the group be introduced.

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