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 10:14. Reason: incorrect title
Thank you very much.
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).
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.