General Strategies for Managing a Multilevel ESL Class

TeachingMany adult ESL classes, especially those located off the main campus site (for example, in churches or community centers), serve the entire local community and, hence, may have students of widely differing English proficiencies. This situation can provide challenges to the instructor.

The following three pages offer some general strategies for addressing a "multilevel" class, as well as two models for managing the multilevel class.

  • First, administer a Needs Assessment to determine the number and level of groups you will need in your class (see Appendix A-2a, b for sample Needs Assessment forms).
  • Focus your instruction. Provide a self-contained lesson, one that can be completed within the time frame of your class on any given day.
  • Plan for all groups to work on the same general topic (although each group may have a different lesson objective).
  • Begin and end your lesson with the whole group together to create a sense of class community.
  • Use a variety of teacher/student and student/student groupings (whole group, small group, pairs, individual) to allow for adequate practice of the lesson objective.

For more information on managing the multilevel class, visit the ESOL Starter Kit, Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center "Teaching Multilevel Adult ESL Classes at http://www.aelweb.vcu.edu/publications/ ESLKit/ESLKit_2002.pdf

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