Yesterday I had two new students who are beginners (pink), but as everyone knows all Japanese students are false beginners. If they were complete beginners they would be like our kids students who cannot read. With a little bit of prompting, they soon become able to handle the grammar forms being taught and can sumarize and ask and answer questions.
In this particular lesson I had a pre-intermediate (orange) student who has pretty good fluency and vocabulary. It turns out that his being in the class was very helpful for the two new students as he could demonstrate for the other students how to practice the lesson material and ask and answer questions. My new students, a mother and her first year high school student daughter, quickly began to handle the material and easily mastered the infamous “s” required at the ends of third person singular verbs.
The handling of students one level apart can be a little difficult sometimes especially if one student is at the start of his/her level and the other is ready to go up to the next level. However, as in this case, it is often possible to enlist the higher level student to demonstrate for the lower level students and this makes it much easier for them to learn and master the item of the lesson. Again, the Smith’s curriculum provides just the right ingredients for our Japanese students to make steady progress toward mastering the language. As Adrian wrote, knowing your students and most of all, knowing and using the curriculum are essential to obtaining consistent results and progress of your students.