Workshop on Catering for Learner Diversity in the English Language Curriculum:
(I) Reading and Listening Skills
Discuss the extent to which you agree with the following statements with a partner or in
1. Learner diversity exists in my class(es).
2. Learner diversity is mainly reflected in students’ target language proficiency
3. Learner diversity can be catered for only in small classes.
4. Learner diversity is most effectively addressed through designing tasks at different difficulty levels.
5. When catering for learner diversity,
attention is often paid to weak learners.
attitudes and motivation
aptitude personality cognitive
How can our teaching of English reading and listening cater for these dimensions of learner diversity?
auditory ability linguistic
ability memory extroversion risk
Instrumental motivation Integrative
motivation field dependent
self confidence field
Learning Progression Framework (LPF)
What are the reading goals at different ATMs?
What are the reading strategies indicated in the pointers at different ATMs?
© English Language Education Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau,
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2014. All rights reserved.
LPF Underlying Principle:
Language development strategies, generic skills, and positive values and attitudes are essential to English
Language learning and form an integral part of the learning- teaching-assessment cycle.
Does this mean we don’t need to pay attention to grammar
and lexis in your reading and listening
Let’s examine an integrated reading and listening teaching sequence aiming at catering for
1. A Genre-based Approach to Teaching Reading & Listening
A functional view of language in context (Rose, D. 2005)
SENTENCE WORD GROUPS
WORD SYLLABLE LETTER PATTERN
patterns within the sentence
patterns within the text
patterns within the word
Diagram developed by HKU LAC Team
+ 2. Multi-modal Materials
Designing teaching and learning materials to cater for different learning styles
+ 3. Bottom-up & Top-down Text Processing
Providing scaffolding through both bottom-up and top-down approaches
+ 4. Flexible Grouping
Designing teaching and learning tasks which allow different modes of participation
Form groups of 3-4.
You will look at a picture for 15 seconds. In your group, write down as many items you see as
Before the picture is shown, you’ll have one minute to discuss how you can best work with your group members, e.g. division of labour, to maximise the number of items written down
There is a word in the middle of the picture. What is it?
What is so dangerous? Look at the picture for
another 10 seconds to find it out. See if your item list helps you out.
Actually what you just saw is just part of the picture.
Look at another part. Whose eyes are these? What do you know about him/her?
Now look at the whole picture. Where would you expect to see it?
Now you’re going to watch a video on the live performance of one of the songs from MJ’s
Discuss the following in 3 mins:
What kind of music is it?
What makes the performance entertaining/fun to watch?
Which part of the video is your favourite?
Use your body language to help express your ideas if necessary.
There is a song in the ‘Dangerous’ album which is quite different from the one we’ve just watched.
Listen to the first part of it and guess what the song is about. Discuss how it differs from the previous song.
This song is called ‘Heal the World’. Read its Wiki description (task sheets) and complete the time-line diagram.
Focus only on Reading Text and Timeline Version 1 for the time being!!!
Reflect on the design of the previous stages for preparing students for the reading task. What do you think would be the rationale behind each
stage and how do they contribute to addressing learner diversity in the classroom?
Some Food for Thoughts:
Activating schemata (content + language)
Use of graphic organisers
Apprenticing language use
Meaning before form
‘Deconstruction’ and ‘reconstruction’
Linking receptive with productive skills
Now compare the two versions of the reading text and the three versions of the time-line task.
How do they differ from each other?
How could those differences allow the teacher to cater for individual differences among the students?
Some Food for Thoughts:
Same task, varying types and amount of support
Different language input (e.g. vocab, sentence patterns)
‘Authentic’ vs ‘authentic-like’ texts
Different language output from the students
Now let’s go back to the teaching sequence
Step 2: Detailed Reading
Read ONLY Paragraph 1 in detail and answer the teacher’s questions
Step 2 Detailed Reading Question Set 1:
How do we know “Dangerous” is a popular album?
What else would you expect to find in Living with Michael Jackson?
Why do we see both the present tense and the past tense in the text?
Why do you think the music video of “Heal the World” features “children living in countries suffering from unrest” but not Jackson himself?
What’s the main theme of Paragraph 1?
Step 2 Detailed Reading Question Set 2:
What does the word “hit” (Line 1) suggest to us?
Where can we find Living with Michael Jackson?
Which phrase tells us that it’s uncommon not to see Michael Jackson himself in his music videos?
What scenes about children living in unrest countries would you expect to see in the music video of “Heal the World”?
What’s the function of Paragraph 1 in the text?
Step 2 Detailed Reading Question Set 3:
How do we know there’s more than one song in the “Dangerous” album?
“Giving Tree” is the name of a…?
What’s the meaning of the adjective “unrest”
(Line 4)? Look at what it describes and perhaps cutting up the word into two parts helps.
Which word means the same as “sang” in Paragraph 1?
What do we know about the song “Heal the World” form Paragraph 1?
Compare and contrast the three sets of questions
What does each question focus on? Meaning, grammar, vocabulary, or a mix?
Which set would you suggest for high-, average-, and low-ability learners? Or would you like to
blend questions from the three sets?
Would you suggest other questions to ask to
facilitate catering for other dimensions of learner diversity?
Some Food for Thoughts
Detailed reading serving to kick-start and
apprentice the reading process for the learners
Linking form with meaning
Looking at language at the text level
A means of training reading strategies
corresponding to various ‘testing points’ of public exam reading items
Task 5 (Listening)
Listen to the following and answer the questions.
(Script to be read aloud by two participants)
Task 5 (Listening)
Now it’s your turn!
Discuss with your partners what listening
strategies you can focus on with the above text and what questions you’ll set for high-,
average-, and low-ability students. Match at least one listening strategy to each question you’re suggesting.
Task 6 (Song Appreciation)
Please refer to P3 of the following online resources:
Hang on! Is ‘filling-
Task 6 (Song Appreciation)
How about the following?
Listen to the song and while you listen, think about the following:
1. Pay attention to the word 'place' which appears a few times in the song. Does it refer to a specific place in Hong Kong or the world or does it mean something else?
2. Which line gets repeated most? Why?
3. Do the lyrics adopt a positive/neutral/critical tone? Give evidence to support your view.
4. Do you like the melody of the song? Why/why not?
5. Give a word that rhymes with ‘place’ in the song, and another that rhymes with ‘living’.
Optional Game Task
How would you use it in the classroom to cater for the needs of your students?
A Wrap up
Catering for learner diversity by going beyond:
setting graded tasks
lowering task demands
looking solely at variation in abilities Possible dimensions to look at:
Support (material + classroom language)
Factors Affecting Learners’
language proficiency (text, sentence, word, phonemes)
text familiarity (background knowledge)
task complexity (the levels of cognitive demand required)
learner individual learning styles (verbal, aural, visual, kinesthetic, …etc.)
Reading and listening can be regarded as a complex process involving four components: the text, the reader/listener, the
process and the context.
A Genre-based Approach to Teaching Reading/Listening Strategies to
Learners of Diverse Needs