How to cope with multi-level classes and how to teach grammar?

Suha and many others wrote in with some very popular questions, so I figured you might find the answers useful too,

How to cope with multi-level classes ?

A few options…

  • If you have no control, e.g. in a government school, ย then you have to do co-operative style teaching where the stronger kids teach the younger kids. ย We do that in Genki English by using lots of group games in the curriculum.ย If you look at most of the recommend games for each lesson they are designed to do this and it can work quite well e.g. the stopwatch game in “What’s your name?”ย  You’ll see the kids teaching each other during the pauses!ย  I also try to add in extra things to the games so that it’s not just English ability that determines the winner (e.g. chance with dice, physical ability, reasoning etc.) ย  that way all the kids stay motivated to learn as they have a chance to win. ย Have a try of some of the lessons and see how you go – or if you pop along to one of my workshops you’ll get to experience it yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • For a more traditional classroom but where you have control, the best way is to split up the classes according to ability.


  • Or if you have a modern classroom with technology then simply let the kids study theย different lesson’s softwareย on their own machines at their own pace. There’s no problem with this, and it’s usually much more beneficial than artificially trying to keep everyone at one pace.


But if you do run your own school then definitely split the class according to ability, it will make all the difference and is the fairest option to everyone.

Ninja Tip: ย If you get the chance, pop along to a local Martial Arts class. ย They often have excellent systems set up where the more advanced students become more advanced by tutoring the newer students. ย You can get lots of tips and ideas from them.

Ninja Tip 2: ย It’s always best to split kids according to ability, but for English lessons try not to have an age difference of more than 2 years between the youngest and oldest in a class. ย (The gap in development is too high) ย If you need to, start another class. ย If you don’t have enough kids for another class, tell the parents, they’ll then do your job for you and get you the extra kids to start a new class for them!


What’s the best way to deal with weak students in class ?

Find out why they are “weak” (personally I don’t ever think in terms of “weak” students, ย we just haven’t found the best way to reach them yet!)

In the majority of cases it is either psychological/confidence (e.g. they haven’t understood the Genki English rules or have been taught that English is “difficult”) ย or that they simply don’t understand the lesson, either the English or what they are expected to do.

So go back and try and find out where the understanding stops, then rebuild from there.

That should bring everyone up to speed.

Plus of course use “Multiple Intelligences” in every lesson you do i.e. ย bright pictures for visual learners, ย audio and music for auditory learners, gestures for kinesthetic learners. ย The more different ways of introducing the material you have, the more chance of hitting everyone’s way of learning.

How to deal with grammar in a way that doesn’t make it difficult for students and save the time as well ?

Just teach the Genki English curriculumย the kids naturally learn the grammar without knowing, then you can very simply teach the terminology when it comes to be time for the tests!

Does that help?

Be genki,


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

2 Responses to “How to cope with multi-level classes and how to teach grammar?”

  1. Margit

    all in all I agree,

    however my experience is that however well thought I set up the classes, and maybe even split up after a while, because the “multilevel” gets to tough: any new class will develop again into different levels, no matter wether there are 2,5 or 50 students.
    Even if the 2 used to be same level, lets say in the class of 6 kids they were before, as soon as they are 2 it’s two different levels.

    Would be great to hear wether others have made this experience as well.

    However thanks to Richard and his workshops (after Russia I think this should be a hot topic for anyone who hasn’T had one yet)
    I am getting around with “multiple intelligences” . It works wonders^the tougher the kids the better; especially if it feels like you have a couple of kids with learning difficulties at once. They will shine in your classes and most parents are just surprised why it is English they love this much.

    Also I’m trying the “teach each other” method, and it works for me in big classes, however I am having a hard time in my small private classes.
    If the kids are all from the same class, this needs so much patience and it usually ends up that we are done quicker without frustration on either side if we sit in a big circle and work together using different methods.

    What does work again on the other hand is, if “higher”kids visit “younger” classes and help out here. This is really great, and I guess is what Ninja tip 1 refers to.

  2. Julia

    Hi Richard!

    Thank you very much for your tips! All of them are very useful! But attending your workshop gave me a better understanding how all of the tips can be applied. GenkiEnglish is a very harmonious way of teaching.
    Thank you a LOT!

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