Number one for English language teachers

Mixed-ability teens: Managing different learning styles

Type: Reference material

Understanding that students have different learning styles.

Do you vary the way you present language and get students to practise it?

If you use a course book, sometimes it’s easy to fall into routines in class that some students may find unstimulating and plain boring.

Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences tells us that we all may learn in different ways and we also have natural preferences to the way in which we enjoy learning. If we only teach in one way many students will be disadvantaged. They will find it difficult to engage in the lesson and may switch off. They are not less able than others, they just need a different kind of stimulation. 

For example they may be more:

  • Visualand therefore respond well to pictures and enjoy responding to language through drawing pictures. So when presenting language use pictures to give new language context, e.g. use magazine pictures of homes/houses to introduce the vocabulary of furniture.
They will enjoy activities like Memory 3 from Play games with English 2, by Colin Granger. You can download this activity at the bottom of the page. 
  • Kinesthetic and therefore respond well to activities that require movement in class. These students would respond well to drama activities like role plays that involve use of body language or action games, which involve moving around the class.

  • Musical– so why not use songs in class to introduce and practise new language?

  • Logicaland enjoy seeing patterns and organising their knowledge.

They will enjoy activities like Categories 1 from Play games with English 2, by Colin Granger. You can download this activity below. 

Other methodology tips for teaching mixed-ability teens

Mixed-ability teens: Addressing all of the students

Mixed-ability teens: Managing mixed-level classes

Mixed-ability teens: Graded dictation

Mixed-ability teens: Managing different speeds and energy levels

Mixed-ability teens: Outside knowledge

Mixed-ability teens: Problem-solving

Mixed-ability teens: Allowing students to work at their own level

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