Learner differences: teaching mixed proficiency levels

    In mixed proficiency/ability classes our students may differ in terms of language level, learning style (visual, kinaesthetic, auditory), age, interests, learner motivation etc. Depending on the overall purpose of the lesson and factors such as the number of students in each class, their level of discipline etc., reaching and achieving our teaching goals can be a real challenge to many language teachers. This blog post will focus on highlighting some key ways of exploiting mixed levels  in order to promote foreign language learning in these difficult to tackle scenarios.


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Nunan, D., & Lamb, C. 1996. The Self-Directed teacher: Managing the learning

Process. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 158-167.

Nuttall, C. (1996) Teaching Reading Skills in a foreign language Heinemann

Prodromou, L. 1992. Mixed Ability Classes. London: Macmillan.

Scrivener, J. (1994). Learning Teaching. Oxford: Heinemann

Ur, P. 1996. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press. Module 21: Large, heterogeneous classes.

Watkins, P. (2008). Learning to teach English: A practical introduction for new teachers. Delta Publishing.

Published by Joanna Nifli

Greek-Canadian ELT teacher and freelance translator with work experience at the United Nations and the European Parliament. Holder of an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (MA TEFL), the Cambridge CELTA and an MA in Applied Translation Studies from the University of Leeds. Interested in innovative pedagogies in language education, TESOL, teacher training, applied linguistics and related topics

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