What can I do about a Low Beginner In High Beginner Class?

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What can I do about a Low Beginner In High Beginner Class?

Unread postby Susan123 » 08 Mar 2008, 00:23

Dear Lucy,
I am a new ESL teacher. I started a job at an Atlanta adult English school in December. I have been teaching an intensive level 1 class. In February, I receeved a new student into class. She is clearly not ready to be in a high beginner class. Everything about the class is too advanced for her. She has had a very difficult time. I have to work very hard to make sure that she experiences some small success in class each day. In my opinion, she needs to be in a survival level English class, or at least in a low beginner class. For example, she has been in class 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks. She is not able to tell me in English what her address and telephone number are. I discovered this the other day when we were doing a grammar lesson about prepositions.
My supervisors diagree with me. After much difficulty dealing with my immediate supervisor, I went to her supervisor. This woman told me that a lower level beginner class, or private tutoring, are not available because it is not financially feasible. I think she means that it is not finacially feasible for the school. The student is on a F1 visa. She has to take 18 hours of class a week. I do not understand why she cannot take 18 hours at a lower beginner level.
My question is: Is this the typical practice for ESL schools? Do schools offer F1 visa students lower beginner level classes if they are needed? It seems to me that the school that I work for is just trying to get as much money out of this student as they can. She will have to repeat level 1 at least one time. Perhaps twice. Is this what I can expect at other schools?
Thank-You in advance for answering my question. I am so happy to have discoverd this forum.

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Re: Low Beginner In High Beginner Class

Unread postby Lucy » 13 Mar 2008, 19:36

Dear Susan,

First of all, I must apologise for not responding sooner. I have been ill and had computer problems for 2 days. I hope you’ll get my response in time for it to be of help to you.

Unfortunately, this sort of situation does happen and especially at beginner level. Your school presumably wants to accept the student and if there is no class at a level lower than the one you’re teaching, she has been placed in your class. If a lower level exists, I can’t understand why your supervisors insist on keeping her in your class. All I can think of is that she took some sort of placement test or entrance exam in which she performed well. There are a variety of reasons why somebody can perform better on a test than they do in class. Is it possible to ask your supervisors to come in and observe the lesson or at least talk to the student one-to-one to really appraise her level?

If your supervisors really won’t move her to another level, there isn’t much to do. One option is to ask her to do extra homework. When doing pairwork, you could sometimes pair her with a stronger student who could help her.

In any case, it sounds like you’re doing an excellent job and it is good to see that you are thinking about her needs (wanting to see success in every lesson).

All the best


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