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Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in a Mixed Ability Environment

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in a mixed ability environment can be quite a challenge for the ESL teacher. Not only is the teacher bogged down with the responsibility of imparting English as a skill in her learners, she is also expected to juggle with the varied needs and requirements of learners with mixed abilities. To add to this, the learning styles of each learner may be different too. For the ESL teacher then, it becomes imperative that she makes available a great degree of practice material to the learners.

Textbooks alone are not a sufficient resource for the ESL learners. The learners have to be provided with ample and varied 'authentic material to hone their English language skills. This is truly the onus of the teacher and of the school to procure and supply the learners with such materials, accessed through newspaper articles, brochures and the like. The ESL teacher also needs to ensure that opportunities to communicate in English are provided to the learners.

In short, the responsibility that the ESL teacher needs to assume to ensure the enhancement of her learners' English language skills is huge. With time being generally a constraint for the teacher, digital support comes in handy to assure assistance to the ESL teacher to enable her to impart necessary language skills. The structured and validated learning content that is provided by a good English digital language learning software, allows the teacher's role as a facilitator comes into play. The audio-visual support that most digital language software make available are a great benefit to teachers. With the use of such software, the teachers are able to cater to the various learning styles of learners, thereby ensuring 'value addition' to each learner's English language skills.

While catering to the various learning needs of learners, a good English language lab is able to provide solutions to some of the most critical aspects of displaying proficiency in the language: functional language in use and pronunciation. If designed and used to exploit participation among the learners in classroom sessions, the use of such language learning tools can display radical changes in the learners' English language proficiency. The learners then at their disposal level based practice components to help them progress in a structured manner.

A teacher with challenges related to availability of time to consciously cater to teaching of the above mentioned language aspects should hence avail of the facilities of an English language lab. This will help fill the teaching-learning opportunity gaps so created. The teacher and the learners both will be benefited as a result in the long run.