Most classes have several students who are more advanced than the others. They learn easily, their assignments are finished quickly, but they can be a behavior problem if they are bored. Teachers are required to meet the needs of children with a wide range of abilities and very different needs. There are a finite number of hours in a school day but the variety of student needs is infinite. This article will list some ideas that might be a step towards solving the needs of advanced students in an English second language class.
Advanced students may:
– learn quickly without needing to work at it
– be reliable conscientious workers
– be interested in only one thing
– not have good work habits
– have a negative attitude to school
– be very talkative and social
– be very quiet and withdrawn into their field of interest
– complete their assignments ahead of the others
Teachers are faced with these variables plus many more. Let’s discuss some ideas that will help these students and you, the teacher. If they can be offered a program that is right for them, many of their negative attributes might disappear.
The Student Who Learns English Quickly Without Much Effort
If the student is more competent than his or her peers then try any of these suggestions according to the materials available to you.
– have the student work with another advanced classmate on a creative project related to their interests
– provide English material about subjects of interest to the student
– make use of a classroom computer program that will be challenging
– provide English books for them to read independently
The Student Who Learns Quickly but Has a Negative Attitude and Poor Work Habits
These students are sometimes bored. They have stopped caring about school.
– identify something that they are interested in
– encourage them to bring English books that interest them to class and assign a research project to be done in English.
– have them use the computer to research their subject
– encourage them to help others with their English
Students Who Complete Their Assignments Ahead of the Others Need to Have Something of Special Interest to Do.
Create a situation where they can:
– work with another English language student on an English project such as writing a role-play to perform for the whole group
– find English books in the classroom or the school library
– help other students
– work on an on-going English language project such as writing a story
These advanced students are a very important part of the class. They often have suggestions that spark ideas in the other students. They are often natural leaders so it is especially important that their needs be met. Spending a little extra time adjusting their program can help to create a harmonious ambiance within the class.
There are further tips in our blog “Keeping up on the News Can Help an ESL Student”.
This article has listed some of the problems encountered when teaching advanced students within the framework of a regular ESL class. Try any of these approaches for helping advanced students to adjust to the classroom situation in a positive way. Establishing an effective program for these students will benefit them, their classmates and you, the teacher.