Sara Davila is an expert in learning and language acquisition. She has experience in teaching, research, teacher training and creating learning materials. As one of the leading experts on the Global Scale of English, Sara has shared her top ten uses of the GSE Teacher Toolkit for language teachers in a series of ten blog posts.

Today’s article is number one in the top ten countdowns. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the toolkit to support learners at various skill levels.

One of the biggest challenges for language teachers is teaching a class with mixed skills. Students of different levels and abilities will always be present in our classrooms. How can we use the GSE Teacher Toolkit to improve mixed skills teaching? Let’s find out.

How to Teach Mixed Skills Classes

Differentiated teaching is the best way to address the challenges of mixed skills classrooms. This is a method that teachers can use to tailor aspects of the curriculum to suit different levels of students. * This practice ensures that all learners achieve the course outcomes, even if their learning experiences may be different and different.

To differentiate teaching and support students with different needs, teachers can modify the following:

  • the content that is taught
  • the process that is used to teach
  • create the product students
  • the environment in which learning takes place

Customizing the content is usually the most obvious way to support learners. Teachers who want to engage in differentiated teaching in mixed-ability classrooms often produce a lot of content. This is a great way to support learners. However, creating new content or leveling existing content is time consuming and can be a real challenge for teachers.

Content versus process

Instead of customizing your content, you can use the GSE Teacher Toolkit to customize your process. Not creating a lot of new content will give you more time to think about how to teach your students a new language and how they can show what they have learned.The GSE Teacher Toolkit helps teachers focus on the process and language production of the learner, not the content you are teaching.

This means less work for you and more engagement from your students, regardless of their level. The GSE Teacher Toolkit can help you understand the skills that are expected of students. How does it work in practice? Let’s take a look.

Global scale of English as a ruler

Differentiated teaching in practice

Let’s apply differentiated teaching with the GSE Teacher Toolkit to a complicated grammar lesson for a mixed classroom where some students are still A2, most are A2 +, and some are B1.

Well Use this free worksheet in the GSE Teacher Toolkit under the Grammar tab. This worksheet relates to the grammar goal:

Can use ‘all of’, ‘none of’ and ‘most of’ to describe subsets and proportions of groups of people and things

and the first exercise focuses on “a little of” and “a lot of”.

ESL activity

Now that you have the content for your students, it’s time to start thinking about ways to differentiate the teaching.

One option would be to create two new worksheets at the A2 level and A2 + level – but as mentioned above, it’s a lot of work. In addition, creating worksheets with layers means that you may prevent your students from making progress by not adding enough challenges.

The best way to differentiate appropriately is to focus on the process the students are using – in this case, editing. In the GSE Teacher Toolkit, this type of editing is an A2 + skill. Therefore, students A2 + and B1 should be able to complete this worksheet.

For the A2 students, however, it could be a challenge. Therefore, you can check the GSE Teacher Toolkit to see what writing skills you can expect from your A2 students. There are two skills that can be used to process this grammar point:

GSE A2 Skillset ID

After you understand the difference in the process for students at different levels, it is time to start planning your lessons.

How to distinguish processes

At the end of the lesson, all students will be able to identify and correct mistakes in simple sentences to demonstrate the ability to use “all”, “none”, “most”, “many” and “a little” of ‘properly writing.

You can customize the process to support students of all skill levels.

Teaching procedure for the worksheet

How the process is differentiated to support all learners

1. Ask all students to read the crossed-out errors on the worksheet and underline certain mistakes.
This is what supports A2 students the most. However, it is useful for all students.
2. In groups, invite students to discuss the mistakes. A2 + and B1 students lead a discussion to create a set of “rules” that can be used to correct the mistakes in the highlights.
This is most useful for A2 + / B1 students while challenging your A2 students. The use of group work allows more experienced students to support their peers.
3. All students will submit their grammar rules as group work.
This way, A2 + / B1 students can help A2 students express grammar rules in their own words for better understanding and usage.
4. When you are finished, all students fill out the worksheet.
All students from A2-B1 can now fill out the worksheet.
5. After completing the worksheet, all students are asked to highlight the correction in the new sentences.
Completing the worksheet may have been easier for your A2 + / B1 students.
6. Finally, all students write a new sentence in the target language. Each student chooses a student to work with.
Adding this extra step will ensure that all students make progress by asking them to transfer their knowledge and demonstrate learning by creating something new.
7. The partners check each other’s sentences and underline any errors in the use of quantifiers. Partners can point out the rules that need to be applied and do a final review once changes have been made.
By applying the grammar rules created by the learner to the new sentences, you will be able to fully internalize the language of instruction for all of your students at all levels.
8. Students review peer corrections and create final sentences to present to the teacher. Students submit all work including the original worksheet, sentences sent to peers, peer-reviewed sentences with underlining and guidelines, and the final correct sentences.
Now all students from A2-B1 had the opportunity to understand the rules, clarify and demonstrate knowledge of the grammar point.

This differentiated process primarily supports the students, whose level is slightly lower. However, all students will benefit from the change in process which will give them the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the grammar rules.

And as you can see, the students write rules, create new sentences, and conduct an assessment. All of this work is done and completed by the students. As a teacher, you don’t have to create a new worksheet to teach a nuanced class. The GSE Teacher Toolkit can help you find a solution that creates more work for the students and less work for the teacher.

Learn more

If you are interested in differentiated teaching, tThe differentiated teaching model I recommend being thoroughly researched and detailed by Carol Ann Tomlinson. There is a whole section for other uses of the GSE Teacher Toolkit Dedicated to GSE on our blog. You can find articles on how to use the toolkit Evaluate performance, aim at the correct learning zone, and Planning for progress. When you need to teach grammar and vocabularyThe GSE Teacher Toolkit supports you in this.


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