English language classroom

Teaching mixed ability classes

To one degree or another, all language classes are mixed ability, and a challenge for any teacher is to differentiate effectively and carry the weaker learners alongside the stronger ones without the stronger class members becoming frustrated.

The Callan Method allows teachers to be flexible in two ways. Firstly, when introducing new language, the teacher can simply target stronger students with the longer or more complex questions and reserve shorter or easier ones for students who may struggle. In later revision work, questions can be shared out more evenly.

Secondly, a properly trained Callan Method teacher will be able to vary the timing of their feeding (speaking along with students during answers) such that weaker class members will receive more support and stronger students less. The difference is not in how much the teacher speaks along with the student; the teacher should be speaking all the time. It is a question of timing. The CMO teacher training course provides guidance on how to do this.

Posted by Duncan McLeay, Callan Method Organisation


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