How To Teach Multilevel Students As A Lone instructor

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Learn a time proven system for facilitating instruction to students on multiple levels by the lone instructor.

Submitted: February 24, 2017

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Submitted: February 24, 2017






The Art Of Instructing Multiple Skill levels

In The Same Classroom


One of the most complicated tasks for the instructor on any level, from elementary all of the way up to university level, is the question of specifically how to accomplish such a seemingly impossible feat as teaching multiple skill levels without assigned assistance. The feeling that an instructor assumes upon being asked to perform such a feat is one of being asked to accomplish the task of being more than one person at the same time. In certain instances, on an individual basis, the feeling may be not only one of an overwhelming exasperation, but one where the instructor concludes that he has been surgically selected for some sort of special harassment, with the possible intent of destroying one's confidence in their ability to provide instruction.

The good news of the day is that while being asked to perform such a task that on the surface appears impossible, this feat can be accomplished and done so to a proven, yet effective plateau of perfection.The first task that we are called upon to do is first determine what these specific skill levels are, who they are comprised of; then perform the art of teaching by utilization of three proven, simple, yet effective methods strategically designed to achieve maximum results.


Determining Varying Skill Levels


The proven methodology that instructors utilize to make determinations of varying skill levels in the classroom is by analytical observation and testing. This test should involve a set of twelve clear, straight forward questions or requests for completion of assigned tasks, that would reveal the functional level of the students. While these tactics are highly effective in virtually any type of classroom setting, in an ESL setting the easiest to give, and one of the most effective, would be a verbal exam asking the same simple straight forward questions that had already been written down.

For example, question number one on the verbal or written exam might be; “what is your name?” With the reply coming again from the instructor; My name is _____ (filled in with the instructors name). While question number twelve might be, “can you name four of the twelve constellations?” The obvious idea here is to begin with the least complex question, move upward in the levels of difficulty by skillfully calculated graduation.

In addition to the above, the instructor may be at an advantage by attempting to engage conversation with specific students who demonstrate what appear to demonstrate proficiency. The names of those students who are most proficient are to be recorded inside the instructor's notes for future reference. This forms the first label.

Students who appear to be mid-level are to have their names recorded and categorized as well. We might make this determination from students who are relatively proficient on a basic level in speaking, but cannot write in the language, or understand writing, for example. A reverse situation would also place a specific student underneath the same label of being “mid-level.”

This same system would be applied when the determination was that a specific student functioned at a basic level. Simply speaking, if the student struggled with a very straight forward, yet very basic spoken and written question, such as; “what is your name?” Or “I live in___(name of city, country, etc), then the appropriate label to assign this student underneath would be “basic.” In other words, keep the task simple by dividing students up into only three categories; proficient, mid-level, and basic.

Another quick, rule of thumb tactic for making label assignments might be to ask the students to write simple essay responses to questions. Instructors who have been given abrupt instructional assignments, with no form of prior briefing might want to keep this tactic in mind. After the prospective labels had been assigned, then the results might be checked by making use of the above tactics of determination.


Three Tactics Of Instruction


Once the skill levels have been effectively determined, then the matter of instruction is accomplished by simply utilizing one of three time proven tactics. While the possibilities for instruction are almost innumerate, for convenience of the reader, this instructor has reduced all of these possible scenariosand tactics of varying complication levels into three primary tactics that work, work well in a large variety of instructional subjects and situations, and most importantly, work consistently in achieving the same positive results.

The question has been proven by years of research, that large numbers of students learn best when taught by their own peers. The officially recognized label is called cooperative education. Therefore the ideology in these three tactics is to incorporate this fact of research into our instructional program. Our result from examination of this information is an automatic common sense analogy, that when students on all levels and in any subject enjoy themselves, then the accommodation for learning exits on an automatic higher plateau in the initiative. Our conclusion in consequence at this point is, that high student achievement has been facilitated even before they enter the class room, when our strategy has been planed with the facts mentioned inside this paragraph alone, held to the fore. Thus, on just such a positive note we shall imitate our strategic plan for giving instruction.


Strategy Number One:

Assigning Assistant Instructors


remember the listindividual groups, while keeping mid-level and basic level students in groups apart. Include at least one proficient level student into group with the instructions for them to facilitate positive interaction among the students. Try to keep the assignment of proficient students per group to no more than three. Based on past experience, two perform better than one, while three seem to function better than two or four. Any more students on the proficient level added to any single group is excessive for the purpose of being practical, .


Strategy Number Two:

Group Assignments Based On Skill level


The good news here is that there are virtually dozens of methods that one may utilize for the purpose of facilitating strategy number two. If one offers instruction in an academy setting or a uthe instructional manual would be perfect for utilizin strategy number two. If no instructional manual exists, then one might be well served by creating his own games or doing what we might call; “spur of the moment instructional exercises.

One of my favorite “spur of the moment, then ask the group to spend ten minutes researching the assigned sectionchoose a speaker who then presents the conclusion before the classroom aloud, while the entire class takes notes.

If no student instructional manual exists, then we as instructors are at total liberty to be creative! Ask the students who are observed to be in possession of the skills to do so, to write a paragraph telling what their plans are for the up coming holiday are, then give this paragraph to the others in the group for their own explanation and analytical dissection. In the basic level groups the assigned assistant instructor might need to be tipped off prior to the assignment, by being informed that the writing must be in it's most simplistic form. Here instructional assistance from classroom peers proves itself to be of irreplaceable value to the lone instructor.


Strategy Number Three:

Use Methods Understood By All Levels


This strategy may seem to be an obvious intent throughout this entire topic, but exactly what methods are understood by all levels? When covering sections in the student's manual, we are compelled to divide the classroom instruction up into fifteen minute blocks. We begin with the basic introduction, then the first activity, which might have been one of those described in strategy number two. Since students learn by differing methodologies, we are at liberty to take the days lesson covered inside the first fifteen minute block, and then present it again in a different manner. A fifteen or twenty minute movie clip that effectively covered the days lesson would be one splendid and effective suggestion, that virtually all students could observe and comprehend at all levels.

A recording with questions of varying skill levels, and a writing assignment with the instructional notation to the student for each to record the number of their group onto the paper. Basic level students would only be held to basic level questions, while mid-level students would be held responsible for all questions on mid-level or basic level.

Last but certainly not least, the class might be assigned according to their grouping, an actual speaking or a board writing assignment of varying skill levels. Any tests would be constructed accordingly, with the mid-level group being responsible for virtually all mid-level and basic questions. Proficient level students would be responsible for all levels, while bearing the responsibility of assisting in the classroom instruction; which by nature in and of itself, would be serving to advance their own levels of proficiency.

As students demonstrated an increase in their proficiency levels, they could move from basic level, to mid-level, and mid-level to proficient, in an ongoing individualized basis. By end of the semester, the supreme goal is that all students will have been absorbed into upper mid-level or reached an easily observed level of proficiency.

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