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Beyond Basics: Multilevel ESOL Classes

This course is an in-depth follow up to our popular ESOL Basics course. Teachers of adult ESOL become experienced in teaching multilevel classes, because in reality, most adult ESOL classes are multilevel. A teacher may have ten students in her beginner level class, but each may come with a different level of education in his home country. Several students may have been living in the U.S. for several years, while others may have just arrived. With new migration patterns, new but small ESOL programs are on the rise. With limited resources, programs may need to combine levels.

For obvious reasons, this poses great challenges even for experienced teachers. Many teachers try, with little satisfaction and success, to stay ahead. They use their creativity, work long hours, create multiple lesson plans, and end up tired and unsure of their effectiveness.

This course is designed for teachers who want to tackle the challenges of teaching multilevel ESOL classes. It is for teachers who want to become not only experienced multilevel ESOL classroom teachers, but highly effective ones by using strategies that work. It is for teachers who want to still have energy for teaching after the time it takes to plan a multilevel ESOL lesson.

Through the online course format, you can learn at your own pace from the comfort and convenience of your own home or office. Facilitators, available to help you throughout the six-week course, lead you through the content and technical aspects of the course.

Each week's lesson addresses a topic in adult education pertaining to multilevel ESOL instruction. Course activities include readings, assignments, and discussions. The lessons are sequential.

Lessons and resources included in the course:
  • Context and Challenges of Teaching Multilevel ESOL Classes
  • Multiple Levels and Learning Goals: How to Do It All with One Teacher and One Classroom
  • Interactive Activities and Grouping Strategies
  • Grouping and Self-Access Materials for Independent Learning in Multilevel Classes
  • Putting It All Together - Multilevel Lesson Planning and Your Future
  • Reviewing Lesson Plans and Farewell

Completion of the course is designed to require a minimum of 24 hours of your time; approximately four hours a week. However, you may find that you want to spend longer with some topics.

In order to receive the certificate for participating in the Beyond Basics: Multilevel ESOL Classes training, you must complete all assignments, respond to each discussion question, and respond at least once to one of your classmates in any of the week’s discussion/assignment forums.

Remember that, although you will gain from doing the activities, you will learn most from discussions with your online colleagues and facilitator. To keep our discussions as productive as possible, you must stay within the timeframe outlined for this course.

Click here to request a course (Note: once your cohort has been established we will send you a link to the Virginia Learning Center to register).

This course is available to out-of-state participants for a fee of $125. To begin the registration process for out-of-state participants, please send an email to

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The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.