A complex term and, more importantly, how does one define learning differently. We all learn in multiple ways but have been indoctrinated into a particular way of learning. Anyone who does not fit the mold is labeled. The world appears to be impatient with anyone vaguely different. More importantly how does one teach such a student in a mixed level class? In doing this- who becomes disadvantaged and who advantaged? In a mixed-level class the teacher would slow down the learning of other students should she/he spend too much time on a student who is not coping. In addition, the students would not be too happy about it. After all they come from all over the world to learn English in Cape Town at Oxford English Academy using New Headway 4th Edition, live with host families so that they can practice, and be immersed in the language they are learning. So they don’t want to be slowed down.

From my experience of having taught abroad, I learnt that students who had difficulties in reading, for example, would have their work read to them, including the questions if it were a comprehension or test. The student then answered. Those who had difficulty in writing used computers. During test time these students spent time with their special needs teacher who gave them all the time they needed.  Of special significance was that they did not attend all the classes that the other students did. One session was set aside for the above.

So, how does one teach a student who learns differently? A private teacher with special needs skills? Do we put students in different levels in the same class? How will this impact the school and the students? I foresee only good.

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