## Issues with Mixed Ability classes

It is well known that every student has a different way of learning and learns and progresses at different speeds. Thus, while some students may find the learning task easy to complete, others may find it difficult to understand. Learning

also depends on what students have brought with them into class. Since each student comes from a different family, a different environment and/or a different nation, the multi-cultural population of the classroom may be an obstacle for the teachers in reaching the students, which eventually results in ineffective learning. Moreover, although it is quite difficult for the teacher to know about each student and to follow what each one does during the lessons even in small classes, it is important for teachers to monitor each and every student and to reach their needs in a variety of ways to achieve effective teaching.

Since most language textbooks are designed for an ideal homogeneous classroom environment, teachers must understand that students react to the textbook differently due their individual differences. Some students may

find the textbook tedious and difficult, whereas some students may find it engaging and simple to read. In addition, as language teaching course materials are currently based on content-based or theme-based syllabi, some students may

find the topics dull, strange, or meaningless; whereas others find it enjoyable, familiar or interesting. Therefore, it is usually necessary for the teacher to evaluate and adapt the materials according to his/her class.

Since the classroom is the first and only environment for many foreign language learners, they should use this chance as much as possible. However, some of the students find it difficult to speak in the target language for many reasons ranging from interest to confidence, from age to knowledge. Other students, however, would like to express everything they think or feel by using the new language. As a result, some students may take turns, while others do not speak for the entire lesson.

Interest problems may arise due to the differences among students in terms of their attitude towards the subject matter and/or the teacher; their knowledge of language; and their personality. For instance, some students may find lessons boring, as the topic has no familiarity with their own life or their interests. Furthermore, some of the students may not be interested in the lesson, unless they do get the chance to express their own ideas since the teacher talks too much during the lesson or the other students take many turns. Hence, teachers should be aware of the different interests of the students to organize and to arrange activities accordingly.

Often the advanced students finish the tasks given before other students. As a result, they may misbehave while waiting for the others to finish. The weaker students, on the other hand, cannot finish the tasks as quickly as the strong ones and may lose their confidence and/or show ill-disciplined behaviour for a variety of reasons related. Consequently, mixed abilities may result in classroom management problems.

also depends on what students have brought with them into class. Since each student comes from a different family, a different environment and/or a different nation, the multi-cultural population of the classroom may be an obstacle for the teachers in reaching the students, which eventually results in ineffective learning. Moreover, although it is quite difficult for the teacher to know about each student and to follow what each one does during the lessons even in small classes, it is important for teachers to monitor each and every student and to reach their needs in a variety of ways to achieve effective teaching.

Since most language textbooks are designed for an ideal homogeneous classroom environment, teachers must understand that students react to the textbook differently due their individual differences. Some students may

find the textbook tedious and difficult, whereas some students may find it engaging and simple to read. In addition, as language teaching course materials are currently based on content-based or theme-based syllabi, some students may

find the topics dull, strange, or meaningless; whereas others find it enjoyable, familiar or interesting. Therefore, it is usually necessary for the teacher to evaluate and adapt the materials according to his/her class.

Since the classroom is the first and only environment for many foreign language learners, they should use this chance as much as possible. However, some of the students find it difficult to speak in the target language for many reasons ranging from interest to confidence, from age to knowledge. Other students, however, would like to express everything they think or feel by using the new language. As a result, some students may take turns, while others do not speak for the entire lesson.

Interest problems may arise due to the differences among students in terms of their attitude towards the subject matter and/or the teacher; their knowledge of language; and their personality. For instance, some students may find lessons boring, as the topic has no familiarity with their own life or their interests. Furthermore, some of the students may not be interested in the lesson, unless they do get the chance to express their own ideas since the teacher talks too much during the lesson or the other students take many turns. Hence, teachers should be aware of the different interests of the students to organize and to arrange activities accordingly.

Often the advanced students finish the tasks given before other students. As a result, they may misbehave while waiting for the others to finish. The weaker students, on the other hand, cannot finish the tasks as quickly as the strong ones and may lose their confidence and/or show ill-disciplined behaviour for a variety of reasons related. Consequently, mixed abilities may result in classroom management problems.

## Benefits of Mixed Ability Classes

In a whole class appraoch, mixed ability classes allow the opportunity to accept, discuss and listen to others' diverse perspectives. Mixed classes are useful for topic introduction, general direction, read-alouds, closure and team building.

With mixed readiness classes, advanced students can experience the satisfaction of helping less-able learners and modeling more complex ideas. This practice may build confidence in the advanced students as tasks require simpler skills.

Similar readiness work in small groups can assist in matching pace with students. Above grade-level materials can be used so in-depth content is developed. Advanced students can challenge each other in a comfortable environment as they share their expertise. This group work incorporates more abstract or compelx ideas to expand the student's knowledge further.

Individual work in ability classes allows for appropriate pace and level. Individual interests and ideas can be pursued and a greater diversity of responses can be achieved.

With mixed readiness classes, advanced students can experience the satisfaction of helping less-able learners and modeling more complex ideas. This practice may build confidence in the advanced students as tasks require simpler skills.

Similar readiness work in small groups can assist in matching pace with students. Above grade-level materials can be used so in-depth content is developed. Advanced students can challenge each other in a comfortable environment as they share their expertise. This group work incorporates more abstract or compelx ideas to expand the student's knowledge further.

Individual work in ability classes allows for appropriate pace and level. Individual interests and ideas can be pursued and a greater diversity of responses can be achieved.