Discussion:  What Is Effective Multilevel Instruction?

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Participants who responded to this PD activity include:

Responses:

Write a brief summary or overview of the reading:

-          Teachers of multilevel classes are challenged with providing relevant activities that meet the needs of all students. This frequently involves augmenting existing texts or creating new curriculum to fit the class. This point is illustrated with the example of Yvonne, a multilevel class teacher, and curricula she developed for her class. She selected a relevant topic (i.e., food) and developed a range of activities from which all students could benefit. She incorporated whole group, equal ability and cross-ability activities, as well as individual work time, into her lesson. By having students work together, she help them build rapport with one another and unify the class. Yvonne long-term planning incorporates the four basic literacy skills, pronunciation, sociocultural information and other language strategies. The most important take-away from the text is this: Effective lessons are well-conceived and not left to chance.

What was the most interesting part(s) of this reading for you?

-          I really appreciated the orchestral metaphor. It helped me envision my classroom self in a constructive way. As a new teacher, I sometimes feel Iím not doing my job if I plan a lot of group or pair work. I know this is silly because I really do believe such activities benefit students. I think itís a holdover from my own educational experience (i.e., lots of teacher-led instruction, little student involvement). I want to become the ďconductorĒ of my classroom. I want to plan the activities my students need, while letting them learn with and teach themselves and each other with my input/direction when needed.

How might what you read influence your instructional practice?

-           I will definitely use Yvonneís curriculum as a guide in my own lesson plan development. I really liked how she charted her activities vis-a-vis language skills. What a great way to track each lesson. It would ensure that nothing is overlooked. Plus, it provides a great quick peek when planning future lessons.  Again, I liked Yvonneís orchestration of classroom activities. The flow of the class was impressive. There were no stilted transitions. Good flow and relevant topics keep students interested and attentive.

What benefits may results from this influence?

-         I guess the simplest answer is that I will become a better instructor. I already create my own lesson, but Yvonneís lesson has given me a useful framework. Iíll use it to critique old lessons and plan new ones. If Iím a stronger teacher, my students will benefit and (hopefully) realize more academic successes.

What challenges might arise?

-         Class size and consistent student participation are challenges in adult education. Iíve prepared group lessons and had one student show up. Iím flexible, but itís hard to help students make educational gains if they donít/canít attend regularly.

What would you like to study further?

-         As a new teacher, I want to learn everything I can about curriculum development. I also like hearing whatís worked and not worked for other teachers. Iím keenly interested to know how to motivate students outside the classroom. Are there sociocultural reasons some people think learning is just a classroom activity?