Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Clear Instructions in the Classroom

What do Clear Instructions look like in the classroom?

Essential Teaching Skills

While there are many factors that can help or hinder learning, the act of giving clear instructions is clearly one of the most crucial.  

John Kongsvik and TESOL Trainers train teachers in scaffolding, working with ELLs, giving clear instructions
Scaffolding is the key to everything
The way that we give instructions can make or break and activity.  Without clear instructions, students may become confused, may lose confidence, and may not get the most out of the experience.  Without clear instructions, we may find ourselves ending an exercise with a less-than-warm feeling.

In the last post we explored how to BE CLEAR when giving instructions.

This time, we’ll take a look at what this essential teaching skill really looks like in the classroom.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Giving Clear Instructions Set Everyone up for Success


Giving Clear Instructions Set Everyone Up For Success



Contact John Kongsvik, Director of TESOL Trainers for more information on professional development for educators
Clarifying Instructions
Whether you teach children or adults, you know how important clear instructions are.  No matter what the subject or what the audience is, you’ve learned that the success of any activity is all in the instructions.  Without clear instructions, at best, there's a lot of confusion as students figure out what they are supposed to do.  At worst, chaos begins to brew, and not a lot of learning is happening.  This is not ideal, especially if you spent time preparing a labor intensive activity.

Giving clear instructions can be challenging not matter who the audience is or what the task is.  


Here are 7 key steps any instructor can follow to minimize classroom confusion and maximize student success........

TESOL Trainers - A Scaffold to Success© 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Actively Engaging Students In The Classroom


Actively Engaging Students in the Classroom

One of the key components to successful teaching is actively engaging the learner in the learning process. No matter what the subject of the class may be or who the student body is, Effective learning happens through engagement. Effective teachers understand how to keep students engaged in a variety of ways throughout their lessons.

John Kongsvik and TESOL Trainers empower teachers to empower themselves
A little mingling changes everything
Actively Engaging students is not to say that teachers take on the responsibility of learning for the students; both teacher and learner have their distinctive roles.

Caleb Gattegno, an expert on the teaching/learning paradigm, captured these roles perfectly, "it's the students' job to learn the language; it's the teacher's job to learn the students."
Thus, while the learners must do their own learning, the facilitator of that process is the teacher. Effective teachers understand how to facilitate learning through engaging the whole of the learner.
There are many benefits to engaging our students and a limitless number of strategies to employ in order to open the door to learning.  Here are a few effective ways...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Checking For Student Comprehension


Checking for Student Comprehension

How do you get students to show you what they know? 


The number one job that a teacher has is to assess his/her students. It is knowing what the students know and what they don’t that gives teachers the information they need to set their students up for success.  Comprehension checks are invaluable assessment tools

The trick is always, ‘how do I get them to show me what they know?’  Once we figure this out, we can give students an opportunity to demonstrate their level of understanding and adapt our instruction according to their needs.

There are both effective and not-so effective ways to check for comprehension.  Here are five typical ways teachers check student understanding:
Checking for Comprehension and TESOL Trainers - John Kongsvik K-23 teacher training in working with ELLs
  1. The Look:  This instructor looks at the students’ faces and thinks, They all seemed to understand.”
  2. The Feeling:  This teacher scans the classroom with his/her intuition and says, “It really felt like they were getting it.”
  3. The Question:  This educator asks the class if they understand and states, “I asked them and they all nodded, yes.”
  4. The Test:  This instructor uses formal test, reviews it and considers, “It looks like they’re getting this but not that.”
  5. The Show & Tell:  This teacher gets the students to show they understand and considers, “What is this telling me about the students’ needs?”

Checking for comprehension is not only vital, but it can be a wonderful way to engage students when done effectively.

 More on Comprehension Checking Strategies...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Multi-Level Teaching - Madness or Marvel

Multi-Level Teaching - Madness or Marvel?


It can be easily argued that any class is a multilevel class.  After all, are learners are individuals.  They all come with varied....
  • strengths/challenges in manipulating the content and language of the class
  • goals/reasons for being there in the first place
  • preferences/needs in regards to lesson delivery, participation and interaction
Multi-Level Groups

The fact is teaching a multilevel class can be a maddening or marvelous experience.  A budding instructor might find the whole process bewildering and overwhelming.  After all, there are real challenges we face as teachers:

  1. How do I come up with a multi-level objective that supports all learners?
  2. How do I structure my lesson to account for the multi levels in my classroom?
  3. How do I teach in a manner that engages all learners no matter what their proficiency level?
  4. How do I manage groups in a multi-level learning environment?
  5. How do I determine what the needs of my students are?
Let's unpack these challenges one by one to see if we can uncover strategies for

setting all students up for success in a multilevel class!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How do I plan a multilevel lesson?

Best Practices in Multi-level Teaching:
Planning a multi-level lesson

Teaching a multi-level class can be a fabulous experience or a frustrating endeavor. While every class can be classified as a multi-level language class (students are, after all, individuals), there is something unique about teaching a class where a portion of the class has a higher or lower proficiency level than the rest.

The principle challenge in multi-level teaching (MLT) lies with designing and delivering a lesson that sets every student up for success, regardless of the proficiency level. 

TESOL Trainers sets all students up for success, one student at a time.
Multi-level teaching Mixed Ability Groups
Teaching in a way that invites both the lower-level and higher-level students engages them in their own learning process.  Refer to Actively Engaging Students in the classroom for more on this subject.

Structuring a multi-level lesson appropriately makes sure you’ve consciously considered how to scaffold each group of students towards language ownership.  It also encourages you to consider how you will give the students opportunities to work with peers who share their proficiency level and with those who don’t share their level of language proficiency. 



In this segment of our Multi-Level Teaching series, we will unpack a model multi-level lesson to uncover more principles of multi-level teaching (MLT).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Do I Structure a Multi-Level Lesson?

How Do I Structure a Multi-Level Lesson?

Anyone who has structured a multi-level class understands well it's challenges.  Teachers need to consider how to decrease chaos  that often comes with multi-level classes and increase learning.

There are a number of key factors to  consider when planning a multi-level lesson.  We need to consider how to structure the lesson as a whole and structure its parts to meet the needs of all students.  Here are three important considerations when staging your multi-level lesson that will set yourself and your students up  for success:
  1. Lesson Flow
  2. Student Grouping
  3. Meaningful Tasks 


Getting Students to Show What They Know

Structuring a multi-level lesson to meet the needs of all students, reach them, and encourage them to stretch is a challenge.  

It's not always easy to structure a multi-level class that minimizes chaos and confusion while pushing each student to the next level.

Focusing on how the lesson flows, how students are grouped and how the students will interact with the content can help.



When you unpack these considerations when planning your multi-level class, you find...