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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 12th, 2010, 10:11 pm
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Default Teaching adults of various levels

Hello!

I am just starting a new job at an NGO where part of my responsibility is to teach English to the staff. I have been told that each of the staff is at a different level in his/her English ability, so I think I might be teaching them one-on-one or in very small groups. I have taught children and high schoolers before, but this will be my first time teaching adults and in such a small setting. Does anyone have any advice on what techniques work well for teaching adults? Also, I'm thinking I will need to do some kind of assessment in the beginning to determine each adult's level of English proficiency. I have never had to do that before, so I would welcome any suggestions on how to do assessments. Thanks!
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Unread Jan 13th, 2010, 07:02 pm
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Default Re: Teaching adults of various levels

Hello,
I work for an adult school in California. We do a very complete set of intake assessments for each student: listening, speaking, reading, grammar and writing. Then each test is scored independently. Then the level of each student is determined.
Here in California, adult schools often use the CASAS reading tests. They are excellent. I also have used some CASAS listening tests, and I like them very much. You can find out more at the CASAS website:

https://www.casas.org/home/index.cfm

You will need to set boundaries (the line between a beginning student and an intermediate student, etc.).
Our intake assessments are very important and we can't live without them.
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Unread Jan 13th, 2010, 07:06 pm
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Default Re: Teaching adults of various levels

One more thing! If at all possible, do not have multi-level groups. This will make your job much more difficult. Try to have only 1 level in each group. Keep very detailed notes about your lessons, so you know what you can use again with other people of the same level.
The activities you use will depend to a great extent on the levels you teach.
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Unread Jan 13th, 2010, 07:10 pm
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Default Re: Teaching adults of various levels

Does the school have curriculum for you to deliver? Is the curriculum different for each level? Will the students be tested after some number of weeks or months, to see how much they have learned?
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Unread Jan 13th, 2010, 07:26 pm
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Default Re: Teaching adults of various levels

Thanks for your help! No, there is no curriculum, and I don't think they will be tested in the future. It's actually pretty informal; they just really want to improve their English in order to work more easily with foreign volunteers and other foreigners they interact with. So there's not a lot of academic pressure; I just want to do my best because they are so eager to learn!
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Unread Jan 21st, 2010, 08:24 am
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Default Re: Teaching adults of various levels

Since the set-up is informal, you can ask each one of them which area in learning English they'd like to improve. Ask them for particular occasions or scenarios when they have experienced it really difficult to communicate with foreign volunteers, and focus your lessons on these scenarios. You can try to reenact these occasions, too, and show them how they could have made it less awkward and more effective had they been armed with good English communication skills.
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Unread Jan 25th, 2010, 07:37 am
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Default Re: Teaching adults of various levels

Much depends on what they require.
A work based situation may require an office -based person to be good at written work. A sales-based or management orientated person may need more speaking skills.

You must identify not only what they require as individuals but also their levels.
Mixed level is never a good idea.

A flexible one to one programme may be better. I have recently proposed rather than one session a week three but with shorter sessions to allow for work and progress.

What are the work requirements?
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