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Managing mixed ability groups

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Karine Kakakis

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of Managing mixed ability groups

Managing mixed ability groups
Karine Kakakis
Care for people in ways they get.
... an elevator
Important attitudes when teaching mixed ability groups
* vary topics and methods (music, art, cinema, technology, culture etc.)
* encourage collaboration rather than competition
* adapt materials (coursebooks, activities, videos, texts etc.)
* individualize (allow the learner choice in what tasks or materials they use and how)
* personalize (whenever possible design or adapt tasks in order to allow different individual responses)
* use compulsory plus optional instructions (everyone has to do a certain minimal part of the task, the rest is optional)
* stimulate students to share life experiences, expectations, opinions, learning strategies and demonstrate interest in all of them.
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A mixed ability group is like...
What other differences should we be aware of when preparing a lesson?
... an elevator.

"Everyone needs to get into the lift to start with. Some students will run into the lift, some will have to be dragged in. Some students will travel right to the top of the building, some may stop at the third floor, and some may only reach the first floor, but everyone will have traveled somewhere successfully. At the end of a class, every student can leave the room feeling that they have been challenged and that they have achieved something."

Jim Rose
So what types of activities should we use in class in order to promote more learning opportunities?
- multilevel tasks
- sympathy level groups
- open ended tasks
- brainstorming
- categorizing
- predicting
- evaluating, ranking, selecting or rejecting items
-surveys
- describing feelings evoked by pictures, videos, pictures and music
- describing pictures
- activities for early finishers
- ordering jumbled words, sentences, paragraphs
- matching (numbers, letters, sentences, pictures)
- problem-solving tasks
- class / group stories
Thank You!
Karine Kakakis
karinekakakis@gmail.com
facebook.com/karinekakakis

Heterogeneity in the English class
Graded Listening
Story Circle
Wall Dictation
Postcard
* always bear in mind that one-size does not fit all
But what do you understand by mixed ability groups?
One of the big challenges that teachers face today is “mixed ability” classes, because even if the learners are grouped according to level of language, any class, in a sense, is a mixed-level group. In fact, the best definition I have heard of a mixed-level group is a class of two. If you have two students, you have more than one level.
I will, rather, use the word “heterogeneous” to define the sort of groups that are mixed in more than just level of language.
(Ur, 1991).
- personalities
- gender
- age or maturity
- different topic interests of students
- language knowledge and views
- cognitive learning styles of students
- different activity preferences
- language levels
- language aptitude
- psychological needs
- intelligence and multiple intelligences
- cultural background
- learner autonomy
- motivation or attitude towards the subject

"Mixed ability classes are the norm, not the exception. So you are not alone."

Norman Whitney
What types of problems do we have to deal with when we face a very heterogeneous class?


Half students have finished the exercise when the other half have only just begun.
The strong students dominate.
The weak students don't even try.
I don't know where to pitch my lesson.
The stronger students get bored if I spend time explaining to the weaker ones.
- When you want to remember a phone number?
- When you get to the grocery store and want to remember four items?
- When someone asks you about a wedding you went to a few years ago?
Think about how you remember something:
Making It Stick: Memorable Strategies to Enhance Learning By: Regina G. Richards (2008)
"We all know that students learn at different rates, especially in language classes, which depend on so many variables like motivation, interest, learning styles, teaching styles, and what can only be called an 'aptitude' or the lack of it, for languages."

Norman Witney
www.oup.com/elt/teachersclub/articles/mixed_ability
"Everyone needs ……… get into ……… lift to ……… with. Some ……… will run ……… the lift, ……… will have ……… dragged ……… Some students ……… travel right ………the top ……… the building, ………may stop ………the third ………, and some ………only reach ………first floor, ………everyone will ………travelled somewhere ……… At the ………of a ………, every student ………leave the ………feeling ………that ………have been ………and that ………have achieved ………."
"Everyone needs to get ………the lift to start ……… Some students will run ………the lift, some will ………to be dragged in. ………students will travel right ………the top of the ………, some may stop at ………third floor, and some ………only reach the first ………, but everyone will have ………somewhere successfully. At the ………of a class, every ………can leave the room ………that that they have been ………and that they have ………something."
"Everyone needs to get into the ………to start with. Some students will ………into the lift, some will have ………be dragged in. Some students will ………right to the top of the ………, some may stop at the third ………, and some may only reach the ………floor, but everyone will have travelled ………successfully. At the end of a ………, every student can leave the room ………that that they have been challenged and ………they have achieved something."
Bias Task Dictation
Oxford Teacher's University 2012
Bibliography & Useful Links
Ur, Penny, Teaching Mixed-level Classes.
Scrivener, Jim. Classroom Management Techniques
https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/teaching-mixed-ability-classes-1
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/mixed-ability
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant/teaching-tips/adapting-materials-mixed-ability-classes
http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2013/sessionreport/9877/mixed-abilities-activities-deal-it
oup.com/elt/teachersclub/articles/mixed_ability
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