Elt in multilevel classes



Doroteja Valentic - HUPE NEWSLETTER 2005, No 23, December Topic




ELT IN MULTILEVEL CLASSES

BY DOROTEJA VALENTIC


Introduction

There are many classes in our schools which are large and multilevel. Students differ in their abilities, language Elt in multilevel classes competence, learning styles, interests, etc. The problem is how to cope with discipline, how to change students' attitudes and develop motivation. Besides, every teacher has to do his best to realise the syllabus and reach Elt in multilevel classes the aims like good teaching climate, cooperation, communication, student-centered teaching, etc. The choice of good strategies to teach the English language skills is important and possible.


Key words:


multilevelness Elt in multilevel classes; language competence; discipline; motivation; teaching climate; cooperation; communication; interest; teaching strategy;


Can you imagine what teaching a class would look like if all the students were at the same level, of equal ability? I Elt in multilevel classes cannot. Teaching such a class would probably be boring even for the teacher.

I agree with Stephanies Richards who says: "Every class we should ever teach is mixed ability." ( 2004 ). When we get Elt in multilevel classes a class of beginners we expect more or less the same feedback, the same results,etc. Because all the students are being taught the same syllabus, teacher uses the same Elt in multilevel classes methods and strategies. But even by the end of the first term it will be apparent that their level of knowledge is far from being equal. It is normal because the teacher Elt in multilevel classes's job and expectations mean one thing and students are something different. There are differences among students which teachers should be fully aware of. Children come to school with different experiences and expectations Elt in multilevel classes. Their expectations about learning and classroom behaviour are different. That is why, even from the beginning, there will be the differences in their approach, self-discipline, attitude and ability in the Elt in multilevel classes classroom. The more students we have in the class, the greater differences among them may appear. Taking these differences into consideration we cannot expect all the students to be able to do the Elt in multilevel classes same tasks in the same way at the same time and with the same interest.

If we get students with certain previous knowledge of a foreign language, we should expect Elt in multilevel classes even greater level differences. Our classes have been arranged by age and by course study which determines students' future profession. That means that they are highly heterogeneous. Students are different in their Elt in multilevel classes language proficiency, in their attitude toward language, in learning styles, motivation and interests. They are of different backgrounds, personalities and abilities. Multilevelness is then a logical outcome of all these factors. The Elt in multilevel classes problems that make teaching multilevel classes difficult are large number of students, discipline and motivation.

Although teaching in large classes is far from easy, neverthless, one could hardly believe that there are Elt in multilevel classes some advantages of it. How would you feel as a teacher in a small class of students whose knowledge of English is poor, they lack motivation, and show no interest in learning the language? How Elt in multilevel classes to achieve student-centred approach with student as a subject of teaching? Difficult, of course. In small classes students lack individual attention and interactive class atmosphere is missing, too. In large multilevel Elt in multilevel classes classes the teacher is faced with different cultural backgrounds, values, experiences and learning styles. This dissimilarity can help the teacher in creating student-centred work and a stimulating classroom climate thanks Elt in multilevel classes to variety of human resources he has in the class. In a multilevel class we can establish work climate which encourages students to help one another. Better students will help their peers Elt in multilevel classes, and shy students will ask for help. Peer teaching can develop a climate of cooperation.

The teacher would share his/her role with a group of more able students who Elt in multilevel classes will very soon act as teacher assistants. It is necessary to support cooperation more than competition. After competing the losers ( usually less able students ) feel even worse than before, while through cooperation the more able Elt in multilevel classes students look for more knowledge and the less able ones get support to start doing things on their own. Learning to be cooperative is a good lesson to students to function better Elt in multilevel classes in life and in society. Peer teaching helps a lot in creating good classroom climate. Teaching a large multilevel class does not leave the teacher time to be bored. It is also Elt in multilevel classes challenging because it makes teacher think, create and develop teaching techniques and good organization in the class.

No matter how much we admit the advantages of teaching multilevel classes Elt in multilevel classes, many problems and obstacles the teacher is faced with make it difficult. It is difficult for both the teacher and the students. The teacher should overcome the obstacle called classroom management. Some teachers can Elt in multilevel classes function in a kind of work chaos in the classroom while others look for perfection. The teacher should never let things in the classroom get out of control. In order to have Elt in multilevel classes good control he/she should take care of good organization. It is very important for students to know what is expected from them, they need teacher's support and feedback in order Elt in multilevel classes to hear how much they know. It is important to have personal contact with all the students. The problem might be more able students who are not afraid to sit at the front Elt in multilevel classes of the class, leaving weaker ones to sit at the back without any personal contact with the teacher. So even in a large class some childrean may feel lost and alone and Elt in multilevel classes normally, they will lose pace of the others and get even weaker than they were before.

Discipline in the classroom often comes out as a result of the relationship between the Elt in multilevel classes teacher and the students. It is a demanding job for the teacher concerning all the differences among students. Many students cause the problems because of a lack of involvement in teaching Elt in multilevel classes process, some are bored, not motivated and lacking interest for school. When students feel failure they will not participate in teaching but even interrupt the others. The teacher's role is again Elt in multilevel classes important. School children still go through the process of forming their personality, looking for their own self. Teacher and peers in the class play an important role in this process. So Elt in multilevel classes every teacher can try to give his/her own contribution in order to help child to take a positive, not a negative way in it. The teacher can help the child to Elt in multilevel classes feel self-esteem creating a happy and balanced teaching environment. Our personal contact with students, listening, talking, discussing the problems will be more productive than punishment, e.g. but the students should Elt in multilevel classes know how far they can go and what the limits of their behaviour are. We can sometimes allow "children to be children" but they cannot be allowed to misuse it.

Motivation plays an important, maybe Elt in multilevel classes an essential role in language teaching and learning. Young learners come to school highly motivated but over time many of them lose motivation. They get bored, tired and lose interest in learning Elt in multilevel classes. The reasons for changing motivation can be different and mostly are out of teacher's control ( family life, health, other school subjects, friendship, etc. ). Motivation is the wheel that moves the Elt in multilevel classes whole teaching and learning process and as such deserves a full attention to be paid to it. It influences teaching dynamics and somehow determines what can be achieved in the class Elt in multilevel classes. It also affects the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Dornyei, Z. ( 2001: 1 ) explains that "motivation is best seen as a broad umbrella term that covers a variety of meanings." Motives to do something Elt in multilevel classes in a certain way or to behave as people do, explain behaviour. Ian Tudor ( 2004 ) sees the complex but fundamental phenomenon of motivation as the one of "connection". Students are expected to discover a Elt in multilevel classes sense of personal meaningfulness in their language learning. When students enter the classroom they have a sense of connection with the .language having pen pals, friends, relatives, etc. and the Elt in multilevel classes country whose language they learn. That is pragmatic motivation which connects the students with the language and with the learning process. If students remain unconnected from language learning "process is likely to be an Elt in multilevel classes uphill struggle for them and also for the teacher." ( Tudor, 2004 ). Since language teaching has been organised at national level, the goals of LT programmes are looked at as certain products ( what students Elt in multilevel classes should know, in what time, etc. ) having knowledge and language competence in mind, while learning is referred to as a process including motivation and students' connection with language learning. Motivation is a learner Elt in multilevel classes-centred phenomenon which should be taken into consideration when we determine teaching goals, course design, teaching materials and strategies. Students should be accepted as people, each with their own ego personality Elt in multilevel classes as the source of human diversity. There are many ways to achieve motivation. When students join the language class, they bring with them certain attitudes and beliefs. They approach the language as something Elt in multilevel classes difficult, something they do not understand and believe they cannot learn. Teacher should motivate them to develop positive attitude to language .learning. Good learning strategies will also help. The reason for Elt in multilevel classes learning a language and what it offers should be quite clear to students. They like to be noticed as individuals with their personal expression and if the teacher gives them Elt in multilevel classes an opportunity to be "themselves", they will be motivated for learning the language. Giving students the possibility to choose and select what they would like to do can also help in motivating Elt in multilevel classes them. Students have different attitudes to language learning. For some of them it is a pastime and they will always be ready to use their creativity and share the ideas with others being Elt in multilevel classes highly motivated. Those for whom language learning is obligation will show all the differences in their approach to it.

The world is said to be the "global village" and people become more and more Elt in multilevel classes aware of the need to learn foreign languages. They are personally interested in the knowledge of foreign language in order to be able to communicate with people round the world. Teaching Elt in multilevel classes them will be an easy task for the teacher. On the other хэнд it is not always easy to motivate students who learn a language within a framework of formal education, bound Elt in multilevel classes by determined syllabi and coursebooks.

In spite of problems of teaching a language in large classes, discipline and multilevelness, there are ways how to cope with them. There are also strategies that "can Elt in multilevel classes turn a struggle into a challenging trial" ( Hess, 2001 ). If a teacher has done his best to teach a good lesson and it turns into a complete nuisance, s/he should approach Elt in multilevel classes it as the mirror image of the well-known proverb which teaches us : "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today". Every teacher can have a bad lesson, but Elt in multilevel classes let it be just one lesson. Think about it tomorrow. When your frustration is over, you will be able to teach a great lesson.

Take care of variety. Varieties of tasks suit different Elt in multilevel classes levels in the class, they keep students occupied for longer time, and keep attention and interest. The material can be dealt with even for a longer time, but the ways we do it Elt in multilevel classes should be different. Variety of teaching strategies can activate the quiet students.

Activities should be adapted to the pace accepted by the class. Neither too fast nor too slow tempo Elt in multilevel classes is good for teaching process. With false pacing students can get either bored or frustrated. Then they usually make trouble in the class.

Interest is no less important. If some students lose Elt in multilevel classes interest in teaching, they will cause problems and attract the attention to themselves, and not to the teaching. In order to avoid that to happen, the teacher can keep them curious, s/he will Elt in multilevel classes deal with important questions and topics, especially the ones concerning their lives. This can be achieved using variety of activities like attractive visuals, problem-solving activities, personalization and role-play. They keep Elt in multilevel classes all students involved and interested in teaching and learning. Interesting lessons will attract students to get involved.

Collaboration and cooperation push students to participate in teaching process no matter what Elt in multilevel classes level their knowledge is of. It helps students to learn to accept somebody else's opinion, to take a risk to speak, to develop self-confidence. The teacher cannot have the control over all Elt in multilevel classes students, so it is natural that they help each others. Some students take the role of a teacher which makes them responsible. More progressive students realize that they learn even more Elt in multilevel classes when they explain something to the others. Popular strategies that help to develop collaboration are: group work, pair work, peer review, brainstorming, projects, poster presentations, peer-correction.

When the teacher wants to Elt in multilevel classes find a particular student in a group s/he will apply the strategy of individualization in his/her teaching. That means that s/he will use the strategies which allow Elt in multilevel classes a student to work at his own pace, in his own way and on the topic of his interest. Such strategies can be a poster report, individual writing ( a diary, an advertisement, an article, a Elt in multilevel classes review, his own dictionary, his own web page, etc. ).

Teacher should pay attention to personalization. Every student should be treated as a person, not as a number in the register Elt in multilevel classes book. If students feel that their opinion is not impoprtant and that they do not fit into the class, they will cause trouble to both the teacher and the fellow students Elt in multilevel classes. It is good to give them opportunity to express their thoughts, to discuss their plans and different topics. The teacher can use reading, listening and speaking tasks which lead to writing and help students to Elt in multilevel classes express themselves. Students can be asked to write different letters ( of complaint, to the editor, to Problem Page, etc. ), present their wishes and dreams, discuss their profession, work out posters of Elt in multilevel classes a place ( known to them or imaginary one ).

Close-ended exercises do not bring such a result as open-ended ones in which students choose their language and exercises. Students can Elt in multilevel classes get the beginning / the end of a sentence and have a choice to work out the rest in their own definition of words, match the answers, multiple choice questions,etc.

Change the ideas, routines Elt in multilevel classes or strategies if they do not work in the class. That will help keep discipline and motivation at a certain level. Try to avoid having only one student to participate. Let all Elt in multilevel classes students take part. Listen to them. The teacher is supposed to teach language, not by any means realize syllabus.

When we put questions to students, we should ask the questions that make Elt in multilevel classes students totally involved and interested in the material. Questions worked out by students are precious, because some of them tend to avoid questioning.


References

Hess, Natalie ( 2001 ), Teaching Large Multilevel Classes, Cambridge Elt in multilevel classes, CUP

Richards, Stephanie ( 2004 ), Teaching Mixed Ability Classes, Teachers' Club, OUP

Tudor, Ian ( 2004 ), Paths to Motivation, Pilgrims, HLT

Valentić, Doroteja ( 1998 – 2000 ), My Vocation in English, Zagreb, Neodidacta



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