The day after my trip up North, we held another cafe meeting in Southampton, at MountPleasant School. Once more, the group indulged its obsession with carrot cake, tea and laughter, as we had another fun meeting.
This week, we were lucky to have two guest speakers – familiar faces, Jackie Berry and Liz Lord, from Hampshire County Council Children’s Services Department. They visited us back in October to tell us all about how to use Powerpoint to great effect, and were so good, that we asked them back! This time, they ran a workshop on how to teach diverse age ranges/abilities within one group, which was packed with great ideas and top tips for interesting lessons.
This particular issue is one that the community languages teachers in Southampton (and all over the UK) are very familiar with and have to find ways to deal with in their teaching lives. The situation comes about because CL teachers are usually voluntary and always give their lessons in supplementary schools ‘out-of-hours.’ This often means that teachers are only available for short and limited periods of time and so all learners have to be taken in one session. One of the ladies in Southampton teaches Hungarian, and as she is the only person in the area who does this, there are great demands on her time – she says that she has double the prep to do for her classes, because she has to split the group in two to reflect age/ability differences: two classes in one session (how to be in two places at once?!).
Jackie and Liz gave a lot of advice on how to deal with diverse ages/ranges in one group and all of their materials and handouts will shortly be available on the LanguageBox for everyone to benefit from. Watch that space!