Author: Adrian Tennant | Published on 1 November 2023


Question: Is it possible to teach mixed ability classes effectively?

Answer: Yes, it is. As long as you think about each learner you can work out how to teach effectively. 

Every class is mixed ability. Learners will have different strengths and weakness in areas such as:

  • speaking
  • writing
  • reading 
  • listening
  • grammar
  • vocabulary
  • spelling

One learner might not be very good at writing, but may be better at grammar. Another may be good at speaking but lack vocabulary. It is unlikely that all learners will be equally good at everything.

Make a profile chart for each of your learners listing their different strengths and weaknesses. Of course, these may change over time. This profile is a personal record and isn’t for sharing. 

Although in large classes this might be difficult and take time, in the end it will be useful. One way to do it is choose 4 or 5 learners to focus on in one lesson. Then in the next lesson choose another 4 or 5. Over the course of a year you should be able to make a profile for each learner which you can use the following year or give to the next teacher.

Then, when you plan your lesson you can think about the support each learner needs and how to group them so they can help each other.

How do you deal with mixed ability classes at the moment? Do you think you might change your approach? Why / Why not?


Equally: in the same manner

Profile: a thing or two about each learner