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Textbook Teaching: How to differentiate effectively?

Discussion in 'English' started by NingenEmpi, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. NingenEmpi

    NingenEmpi New commenter

    Hello teachers,

    In my school, the general English class is taught via three different textbooks (OUP based series), a class book, workbook and grammar book.

    Throughout the PGCE we have differentiation understandably drilled into us but I'm still struggling on how to implement this with the rigid textbook format with little time to deviate from that. Of course, I want to be able to differentiate properly as there are different ability levels within my classes and it's difficult to keep students engaged when some of the material is clearly too easy or difficult.

    I'd like to seek your advice or any tips on this if you've found yourself in a similar situation.

  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    I also teach using textbooks. When I see that coming up there is an activity that will either be too hard/too easy for some students in the class I create a different activity that will cover the same skills/assessment objectives/grammar point as the one in the textbook. So some students do the one in the textbooks, others do different ones. Sometimes you'll need to make these yourself, but it might be worth investing in other textbooks (CGP, Advanced Grammar in Use, Cambridge Checkpoint) that you can just photocopy activities out of.

    I can't see any HoD complaining about that!

    Another option would be to create writing frames for writing tasks (for LA students) or challenge HA students to use particular grammar structures or vocabulary in the writing tasks. Alternatively, you can increase the level of challenge of writing tasks by banning certain words/phrases for HA students.

    For reading tasks, create glossaries for any vocabulary you feel might be challengining (particularly for any EAL students you may have). For HA students you can create extension questions based on the same reading texts (e.g. explain the writer's motive; explain the effect of the way the text is structured; etc).
    saluki and NingenEmpi like this.
  3. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Also, bear in mind that you might need to take a step back with some students. Perhaps they don't have the foundational knowledge needed to complete a task, so they may need a completely different task rather than simply an 'easier' one.
    If you can send over an example of a lesson you've taught and how you've struggled to differentiate, I (and maybe others) can give you some specific tips. It's always easier to comment on a concrete example.
    The teaching profession is lucky to have someone as committed to reaching all their students as you seem to be.
    saluki and NingenEmpi like this.

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