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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 13th, 2007, 04:17 am
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Smile Morning! Any advice on varying abilities please!

Morning all - another newbie here! Firstly, great site and thanks to the organisers for the abundance of resources!

I volunteer in a community setting in the UK at the moment and I have one class with only two Indian students, both of very different ability. I have them for two hours and I'm worried that they are not getting the most from the time because of the attention they need.

Does anyone have any tips on activities that will keep the two of them challenged? One can barely speak a sentence, we are starting with pronouns and basic vocab. The second has enough vocab to be confident in a conversation (if you ignore the grammar and work out the tense for yourself!) and can compose a piece of writing although it will have grammatical errors. He is trying hard to push himself while the other is very shy and struggles.

Thanks in advance, TK
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Unread Oct 13th, 2007, 05:33 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Morning! Any advice on varying abilities please!

If you see them frequently, I'd suggest splitting them - alternate lessons for each. They'd probably learn more from one dedicated lesson than two mixed ones. But if you can't, or if you only see them once a week, and it's not an option, you could split them within the lesson :

Divide the lesson in two. Start with the beginner, and for the first half of the lesson work with him. Meanwhile the other is working autonomously on follow up activities from the last lesson. If there's a computer in the room this could be on-line, or just ordinary "pen and paper" stuff.

Half way through, switch over - the beginner works on practice activities for what you've just focused on, while you work with the other.

If the lesson is very long then it might be better to divide it in four or more segments rather than two. But the principle of alternating remains.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 13th, 2007, 07:48 am
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Default Re: Morning! Any advice on varying abilities please!

Thanks Sue, that makes perfect practical sense and would be easy for me to sort. Hadn't even crossed my mind! I was thinking of certain exercises or activities that could be stretched for one learner and kept basic for another...
The only problem I have is that it is a free Monday evening class and people tend to turn up as and when. So far 2 is the largest number, but I've only been there a few weeks and they tell me I could have up to 15 - I wouldn't know until I walk in the room! I've realised that I will just have to be extremely prepped for any eventuality!
Thanks again
TK
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 24th, 2007, 04:56 am
HUE HUE is offline
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Default Re: Morning! Any advice on varying abilities please!

If the one student has a lot of grammar problems, it wouldn't hurt to go through grammar and drills with the both of them. Obviously, though, when it comes time to use a freer activity and put the language in practice, the stronger student will have a lot more to say. But that's fine, because both will be able to get the benefit of some new material and/or review material, and then apply it according to each individual's ability level.

Or consider having the stronger student teach/help the weaker student. Using this technique from time to time challenges the stronger student, and can act as a confidence builder for the weaker student -- sort of an "he did it, so I can too!" In addition, the stronger student will be able to explain problems, having faced similar ones, too.

Hope this helps!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 24th, 2007, 05:14 am
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Default Re: Morning! Any advice on varying abilities please!

Thanks Chris - wasn't sure if getting the stronger to spend some time 'teaching' the weaker student was a cop-out on my part! Since writing the post on here, I have experimented and this setup definitely does boost confidence of both students...
Cheers
Tori
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