Teaching ESL

getting students in the right classes
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Author:  mesmark [ Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  getting students in the right classes

Listen to the show.

Just when you thought the stores were putting out their Halloween stuff a little too early, Mark explains to you the market they're after. Luckily, Halloween isn't the topic of this September show. Don't let the beginning make you think other wise.

Mark and Clive both run their own school and one of the more difficult problems with running your own school is getting classes together. Not only getting bodies in the door but also making sure those students are in good groupings with similar level and goal oriented students.

It's a full house with Ron, Clive and Mark all chiming in on how they select textbooks, assess students' levels, and how they deal with different age groups.

Game of the Week: Fizz Buzz

Clive has brought the game of the week and it's an adapted version of a British drinking game. While you technically could play it as a drinking game, we don't recommend it :) Instead, you can use the game to review vocabulary such as irregular verbs.

Mark, Clive and Ron give the game a go! Listen to the show to see who the winners are.


Discuss the show and or pumpkin carving here in the ESL Teacher Talk Forum. (To register use this VIP code 7575.)

Check out Clive's site www.eslpodcards.com for listening resources for teachers with accompanying worksheets and transcripts.

Author:  skr [ Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:35 am ]
Post subject:  Hello and Comments

I'm new here and I really enjoy your show! I'm an American English teacher in Dresden, Germany.

I totally agree with you about schools' placement tests, they have often put me in disastrous situations. In general evening courses I have the most trouble with mixed abilities, but in my company courses (especially at small companies) I find that mixed abilities are okay, as long as the levels aren't too far apart. When the students are coworkers, they really do help each other in ways we English teachers often only dream of.

Some of my courses also consist of people ranging from about 25 to over 60 years of age, and the students really seem to enjoy working together. The age range is a great source of different viewpoints. It's usually possible to find topics that everyone can discuss, and if the generation gap also causes a knowledge gap, the students can learn something from each other as well. I've had more complications with students with different personalities than with students who are very far apart in age.

I'll certainly recommend you to my coworkers at our next teacher meeting!


Author:  mesmark [ Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:03 am ]
Post subject: 

Sarah - Welcome to the ETT forums! Where are you teaching? strictly companies? university as well? other?

I've had a few classes where the levels weren't too different and they worked well together, but when the levels were quite different there was a lot of stress/frustration in the class. Do you have any activities you think work well in this situation or strategies to get those students to learn cooperatively?

We appreciate you spreading the word. It helps to know people are listening and like ETT.

Author:  skr [ Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  games for mixed levels

Hi again,
I heard somebody on here likes pumpkins-me too! Check out my blog! http://www.sarahonearth.blogspot.com
I teach mixed groups at private language schools, company courses which I organize myself, have also taught children, one to ones, just about everything. I really find that it depends a lot on the students' individual personalities if they work well together despite having different levels. It's good if you can get the higher level students to teach grammar points and help their classmates with grammar and vocabulary. I also find that team games where students have to work together to produce something work really well with mixed levels. Dialogs and partner work is a bit tricky, because the higher level students get frustrated and the lower level students lose confidence.

An example of a game that was a big hit with mixed levels is "Alibi," which I got from a colleague of mine. You make up a crime (I've done it after reading a business English mystery novel with my group, basing the crime on the story), and assign everyone roles, for example 2 cops, 2 witnesses, 2 employees at the company, 2 suspects, etc. The cops work together to form questions for the witnesses and others, the witnesses form their stories together, the suspects and employees do the same. They each write all of their information down, so I can come around and check it, then we do the questioning. The police are always in the room, and the others go out, only one person at a time can be questioned so that they can't change their stories. My students helped each other a lot in forming their questions and stories, and the speaking activity worked well with all of them, because everyone had to speak, no one could sort of hide out or disappear into the background. They also have fun with it and it involves some fantasy, so they don't stick to their notes too much, they speak more freely.

Any other games and fun ideas for mixed groups?

Author:  smy2brazil [ Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:38 am ]
Post subject: 

Could you remind me of the names of those textbook series you were talking about.. One was interchange and the other I don't remember.

Author:  ronmolenda [ Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

smy2brazil wrote:
Could you remind me of the names of those textbook series you were talking about.. One was interchange and the other I don't remember.

Hi my2brazil,

The other textbook series we mentioned in the show was American Headway, by Oxford University Press. Welcome to the forums and I hope you enjoyed the show!

Author:  patrick [ Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

I was laughing my a$$ off on this show. You guys were having too much fun!!

Great job guys!

Author:  mesmark [ Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

patrick wrote:
I was laughing my a$$ off on this show. You guys were having too much fun!!

Great job guys!

Even funnier that Ron with his two posts welcomed smy2brazil (who has 100+ posts) to the forums.

Author:  eslkorea [ Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:17 am ]
Post subject: 

error 404 :(

Author:  mesmark [ Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:48 am ]
Post subject: 

eslkorea wrote:
error 404 :(

Hmm? The file hosting service must have restructured their site.

I changed the links and the files should be downloading correctly now.

Author:  unique07 [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

I really enjoyed your show and it really nice.

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