Talk: Soup or salad? Informed eclecticism in the mixed-ability classroom (plenary talk)
Traditionally, the role of the teacher has been at the heart of language-teaching methodology; in the mixed-ability classroom, however, the needs of the learners are paramount. Finding the right approach to take with a group of students can therefore involve making a difficult choice from a rich menu of methodological possibilities.
This talk will first argue that there is room for traditional methodologies in the modern mixed-ability classroom, and will suggest innovative ways of drawing from a variety of different approaches in an attempt to meet the specific needs, strengths and preferences of individual learners.
Just as disparate ingredients combine to make a good salad, an informed and flexible approach that recognises and celebrates individual diversity and personal preferences can allow us to enhance and enrich the learning experience for all.
Workshop: Engaging all learners in the mixed-ability classroom
This session will begin by considering what we mean by the term ‘mixed ability’ before going on to look at some of the practicalities of working effectively with mixed groups. We’ll look at how materials and language-learning activities can be differentiated to make them more inclusive and accessible. We’ll also discuss principles and techniques for creating a positive classroom environment – one in which all learners can make valid contributions. Finally, we’ll look beyond language in order to consider the benefits of a whole-person approach to teaching in the mixed-ability classroom.