- A. What if the students are all at different levels?
Teachers regularly face mixed-ability groups where different individuals are at different levels and have different abilities. How to deal with the condition?
- Use different materials/technology
When teachers know the good and less good students, they should treat some students differently from others. Provided the self study-facilities (a study center or separate rooms) task in purposeful, the students who go out of the classroom will not feel cheated.
- Do different tasks with the same material/technology
We can encourage students to do different tasks depending on their abilities. A reading text can have sets of questions at three different levels, for example.
- Ignore the problem
It is perfectly feasible to hold the belief that, within a heterogeneous group, students will find their own level. The better students may either be bored by the slowness of their colleagues or frustrated by their inability to keep up.
- Use the students
Teaches find a strategy of peer help, so that better students can help weaker ones. This has to be done with great sensitivity so that students don’t feel alienated by their over-knowledgeable peers of oppressed by their obligatory teaching role
We should be sensitive to their wishes so that if they do not want be treated differently, we should work either to persuade them of its benefits or perhaps, accede to their wishes.
- B. What if the class is very big?
Despite the problems of big classes, there are things which teachers can do:
- Use worksheets: teachers hand out worksheets for many of the task
- Use pairwork and groupwork: they play an important part since they maximize student participation. It is important to make instruction especially clear, to agree how to stop the activity and to give feedback
- Use chorus reaction: it maybe more appropriate to use students chorus. This is especially useful at lower levels.
- Use group leaders: they can be used to hand out copies, check everyone in their group has understood a task, collect work, give feedback
- Think about visions and acoustics: teachers should ensure that what they show or write can be seen or they say can be heard
- Use the size of the group to your advantage: one main advantage of a big class, a class feeling is warmer, humorous, and dramatic. Use this potential to teach.
A big class makes the job teaching even more challenging
- C. What if students keep using their own language?
Here are some ways of doing this:
- Talk to them about the issues: Teachers try to get their students’ agreement that overuse of their own language means that they will have less to learn English.
- Encourage them to use English appropriately: A little bit of the students’ native language when they’re working on a reading text is not much of a problem, but a speaking exercise will lose its purpose if not done in English.
- Only respond to English use: ignore what students say in their own language
- Create an English environment: Teachers themselves should speak English for majority of the time
- Keep reminding them
- D. What if students don’t do homework?
Here are some ways to deal with it:
- Ask the students: ask about homework and get their agreement about how much we should ask for. The outcome is that many more students are enthusiastic doing the homework
- Make it fun: some students are more likely to be engaged if the task are varied, and if the teacher tries to make them fun
- Respect homework: It is especially appropriate if they give homework in on time but teacher keeps forgetting to mark it and hand it back.
- Make post-homework productive: We need to provide opportunities for them to react to suggestions we make on their homework or to discuss the task that was set in the light of our comments.
- E. What if students are uncooperative?
Problems behavior can take many forms. There are number of ways teachers react to problem behavior
- Remember that it’s just a job: teacher tends to see the students’ behavior as a personal attack. However, teaching is not a job, not a lifestyle, and in order to act professionally, we need to stand back from what is happening so that we can react dispassionately. Keep calm and respond as objectively as we can.
- Deal with the behavior: It is not the student we want to stop, but the behavior itself. We can deal with the students who are causing difficulties by talking to them away from the whole class. It is also helpful to find out why the students are behaving uncooperatively.
- Be even-handed: If the class sees sarcasm used as a weapon, their respect for the teachers’ professionalism may be diminished. If they see one student getting away with behavior which others are punished for, they will resent such favoritism.
- Go forward: The best way to deal with problem behavior is to work out what will happen next, or what happens in the future
- Use any means of communication: discuss the problem via email, or letter
- Enlist help: teachers should talk to colleagues or get a friend to come and observe the class
- Preventing or cure?: Preempt problem behavior so that it never takes place than to have to try to react it when it does
- F. What if students don’t want to talk?
There are other much better things to try:
- Use pairwork: It can help provoke quiet students into talking. Allow them to speak in a controlled way at first: let students write down what they are going to say before they say it.
- Use acting out and reading a lot: for example, teacher acts a drama coach
- Use role-play: quiet students will speak freely when they are playing a role
- Use recording: teachers ask the students to record what they would like to say outside the class and point out possible errors.
- G. What if students don’t understand the audio track?
There are a number of alternatives to this scenario which can help
- Preview interview questions: ask some questions before listening. It will have predictive power
- Use ‘jigsaw listening’: different groups can be given different audio excerpts
- One task only: students can be given a straightforward task which does not demand to much detailed understanding
- Play a/the first segment only: play the first segment and let students predicts what’s coming next
- Play the listening in chunks: break the audio track into manageable chunks
- Use the audio script
- Use vocabulary prediction
- Have students listen all the time, such as get them to listen to the news in English or radio or internet
- H. What if some students finish before everybody else?
If only one group finishes way before the others, we can work with that group or provide them with some extra material, or to plan extension to the original task so that if groups finish early, they can do extra work on it.