Many adult ESL classes are multi-level. Classes in the community often serve the entire local population and, hence, have students of widely differing English proficiencies and backgrounds. For
an instructor, this can be a challenging sitation.
NICE's classes are fully divided by level, but the students within each level may have widely differing abilities. One student in a class may have very strong speaking and listening skills while struggling with reading and writing, while another student in the same class writes and reads with ease but is very reluctant to speak.
Fear not! There are many researched and tried and true approaches to managing a multi-level classroom so that the needs and educational goals of all students are met. The multi-level class does not need to be intimidating - these resources are here to provide support for you as you navigate the classroom!
Below is a video from Cambridge University Press, the creators of the Ventures curriculum that we use, about how to facilitate a multi-level classroom.
This model can easily be applied in the setting of NICE's ELL classes. It is intended for a traditional classroom setting where the teacher may be working out of a textbook.
Students will be divided into two groups based on their English proficiency levels. The lesson topic is the same for both groups, but the individual objectives for each group are crafted to the proficiency level of the group.
Lesson Topic: Buying food in a grocery store
This model is intended for use in a project-based class session. Each group of students will be working on their own project, which may just be a short activity pulled from the textbook. Groups may be determined by student English proficiency levels, and also by students' interest in the specific projects. The topic of the project is the same for all student groups, though each group will have a separate focus.
General Project Topic: Buying food in a grocery store
Specific Group Project Foci:
Below are a few articles and activities provided by the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute that provide some strategies to use in the multilevel classroom.