Multi-Level Teaching - Madness or Marvel?
- 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
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:
- How do I come up with a multi-level objective that supports all learners?
- How do I structure my lesson to account for the multi-levels in my classroom?
- How do I teach in a manner that engages all learners no matter what their proficiency level?
- How do I manage groups in a multi-level learning environment?
- How do I determine what the needs of my students are?
setting all students up for success in a multilevel class!
How do we approach a multi-level English language class?
- Content of the class that helps all learners
- Process which the students will go through during the lesson
- Products that students will create with the language studied
- Opportunities that challenge students at their levels
The trick is always deciding on a strategy that maximizes learning and minimizes preparation time.
- Task-based Objective - Returning an item in a department store
- Lower Level: SWBAT demonstrate the ability to return a store item by comprehending and responding to these common topics...purpose, reason, outcome.
- Higher Level: SWBAT demonstrate the ability to return a store item by comprehending and responding to these common topics...purpose, reason, details, outcomes, options
- Lower Level: SWBAT ask someone for repetition (what? Can you repeat that? What did you say?)
- Higher Level: SWBAT ask someone for repetition (Could you say that again, please? Would you mind repeating that? I'm not sure I understood, can you tell me again?)
- Lower Level: SWBAT ask for advice for common ailments (headache, stomachache, backache, toothache, muscle ache) and use modals of advice (should, could) when responding ( take aspirin, see a doctor, visit a dentist, lie down, get a massage).
- Higher Level: SWBAT ask for advice for common ailments (headache, stomachache, backache, toothache, muscle ache) and use modals of advice (must, ought to, should, could, might want to) when responding ( take aspirin, see a doctor, visit a dentist, lie down, get a massage).
Some guidelines for designing multi-level objectives:
- Notice how things can be added/subtracted to an objective to reflect the varying proficiency levels in your classroom. Key Question - how do I increase or decrease the difficulty?
- Notice how the lesson's purpose cuts across proficiency levels, simple to complex. Key Question - how is this reflected at the beginning and intermediate levels of the students I have?
- Notice how the objectives capture the capabilities of students and their levels. Key Question - how do I make sure that I push them one step beyond their current capabilities?
- Notice how the two objectives connect to one another. Key Question - How are these two connected to help me manage the delivery of the lesson?
Final Thoughts on Multi-level Teaching:
It may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but as you work at it, you will probably find it's easier to connect the needs of your students, the institution, and your own approach to setting students up for success. Every time you try something, you have the opportunity to improve your approach for the next time.
If your institution would like professional development on the topic of Multi-level Teaching Strategies, please visit our website at TESOL Trainers or contact us directly.