Communicative Sessions in Mixed-abilities Classroom: The Big Challenge for Low Achievers

low achievers, mixed-abilities classes, communicative sessions, low achievers’ motivation


  • Nedia Bellil
    EFL Teacher/ Phd.Student, University of Sfax, English department, Tunisia
December 30, 2020


Theoretically speaking, the communicative approach, and the communicative sessions based on it may seem to be suitable to all teaching contexts. However, in real classroom context, realities may be different especially in mixed abilities classes.  This study is an attempt to bring awareness of the different kinds of difficulties low achievers face during the communicative sessions in mixed abilities classrooms. It tries to build links between the principles on which those sessions are built and the difficulties engendered by mixed-abilities classes. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire and an interview for both students and teachers of English, in addition to an observation of a number of communicative sessions in the Tunisian ELT context. The study revealed that the majority of low-level students are unable to cope with those sessions. They are highly demanding for them especially in a mixed-abilities context. They negatively affect low achievers’ self-esteem and motivation to learn English. The findings of the study can be used to enrich and support other researches dealing with similar issues. They can also help in deciding on the adequate solutions to low achievers’ problems with communicative activities in mixed-abilities learning context.