Understanding that students need to work at their own level.
Consider activities like these, which all the students can do, but which can be as done at different levels as the students choose:
Students regularly write in a diary or journal. They can write about whatever they wish and however much they want. The focus is on fluency. Teachers can read and respond to the content. Students can also illustrate these diaries and/or include pictures or text from magazines /internet etc. This creates a real and personal communication between the student and the teacher.
Students design questionnaires for the class and decide how to present their findings. Weaker students can choose just a few simple questions to ask e.g. What is your favourite xxxx? And then present their findings using charts, posters or oral presentations.
Doing any work on a given topic allow time for students to think of language they already know on the topic. You can do this as a class with teacher writing suggestions on the board or with students working in groups on big pieces of paper. For example:
All students can contribute, even if it is only single words.
You can tell a story with the class, encouraging them all to contribute ideas and vocabulary. Accept as many contributions as possible especially the crazy ones! For example:
Students make suggestions and you incorporate them into the story.
Don’t compare students to others, but praise them for what they have managed to do, regardless of what others around them have produced. We all need to know that our contributions are of value.
Teenagers: Teaching mixed-ability teens
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Mixed-ability teens: Allowing students to work at their own level