a) Most private schools in Nepal divide classes into different sections depending upon the performance of the students. The best ones are placed in one section and others are divided accordingly. This allows the teachers to plan the lessons suitable for the sections they are going to teach. The government schools also try to follow this strategy.
b) In my earlier years, I chose a middle path: I did not move with the very intelligent ones nor did I wait for the slowest ones.
c) These days, I actually “teach” less and manage the class more: I set the tasks and help the slow ones. When the intelligent ones finish the tasks, I ask them to help those who haven’t. The slow ones are given more time in advisement sessions in which they receive help with their tasks as well as counselling for study skills. I can do this because I have only 20 students in my class. But with the class of 60 or 100 (these numbers are common in Nepal), I really do not know how to manage the classes. Referring to this issue, Penny Ur (2005) in her Keynote speech she delivered at the 10th International Conference of NELTA in Kathmandu said, “As with many educational problems, there are no easy solutions. We could, perhaps largely solve [the problem of mixed ability classes] by preparing different tasks to suit different groups within the class; or by preparing several texts at varying levels of difficulty, as suggested by some methodologists. But most of us have neither the time nor the money to invest in such elaborate preparation, let alone the time to check the results later.”
So friends, please share your experiences of handling the mixed ability classes whether your strategies have worked or they have not.
Laxman from Nepal
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