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Children are Always Cute (by Esra Girgin Akiskali)

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”  Forest E. Witcraft

Children are always cute and eager to learn but unfortunately they have very short attention spans and affect each other very quickly. Sometimes you may lose their attention (even if you are playing a game) which means also losing the control of the class. And once you lose their attention, it is really hard to get them to concentrate back on what you were doing. To prevent this, I have ten tips to share with you!

1- Whenever I change activities or the students need to change place (from the table to the cushions for instance) I count slowly up to ten and everybody gets ready. In addition to counting up to ten, you can also rhyme or use a musical instrument (mine is maracas) to make sure they are all ready to start the next activity.

2- When a student wants to go to the toilet, some others also want to go to the toilet not they need to but because it looks fun to go all together. This is also the same for drinking water. When one wants, some others want, too.  So before each class, make sure you have “toilet and water” time.

3-Small children have conflicts, disagree and argue a lot and make complaints about each other. After listening to the problem, make sure they apologize to each other. A simple “I’m sorry!” may be the solution most of the time.

4- Be sure your kids are not hungry, sleepy or thirsty during the class hour. Any of these will detract attention and may spread to all students.

5- Keeping the kids in a row is sometimes really hard. In my class, I take my imaginary magic wand and make a spell that keeps all the kids in a line with imaginary magical glue and it really works!

6- Most of the kids like group work but some may like to work alone. It’s better to let them work on their own for they can disturb others if you force them to do group work. And also, when grouping the kids, take into consideration that kids have different ability levels.  Try to group them as equally as you can.

“My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.”    Ron Olson

7- As a teacher, you should choose the activities you enjoy as well. If you like what you do in the classroom, your kids will, too. Also be enthusiastic when you are doing your activities. Always keep in mind that a teacher is like a mirror to her/his kids.

8-Immediate feedback will increase the motivation for your lessons. Don’t hesitate to praise your kids with bravos, well-dones, good jobs and fantastics!

9-Balance the energy level in your class by playing both settling and stirring activities during the same class hour. For example after a very exciting  activity ,  I  rhyme “Two hands clap, two hands lap, right click, left click, concentration (eyes closed, take the lotus position), concentration,  concentration… Wake up!” And suddenly, they are quiet and ready to listen to me.

10-Be sure you raise the curiosity especially when you start a new unit.  When children are curious, they explore the language and come up with new ideas.

Above all I mentioned here, the most important thing is to LOVE and RESPECT your kids. Don’t forget that even though they are small kids; they have their own thoughts, personalities and feelings. Let them feel your love and you will see it will return back to you like a boomerang!

As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” Dr. Haim Ginott

I have been teaching English to “Very Young Learners” for 7 years. I love teaching children as they are always enthusiastic and fun to teach!

Visit me: http://www.esraakiskali.com/

Read me: http://esraakiskali.edublogs.org/

Follow me: @ekamin

9 Comments

  1. Barbara says:

    I love these tips, Esra! I plan on taking a magic wand and magic glue to my very next kindergarten class. I’ll tell them that I got the wand and glue especially for them from a friend in Turkey :-)

    The concentration chant is also wonderful. Such a simple transition, but I can really see how it would work.

    And of course, we can never go wrong with respect and love!

    Thanks for sharing these.

    1. Dear Barbara,
      First of all, thank you for giving me the oppotunity to share my ideas on your blog. About the tips… They are all practical and really work. Glad to hear that you will make a “glue spell” at your next class:)

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  4. Hi Esra (and Barbara)!

    A very nice list of tips for teacher of Young Learners. I even think some of them can apply to more grown-up learners too. I can think of several students (teens and upwards) that would do well when the teacher uses your tips 6-10.

    Thanks for sharing =)

    Mike

  5. Esra says:

    Dear Mike,
    I totally agree with you. You can apply some of them to every group of students. The important thing is to realize that you can get ideas from anywhere as long as you look from the right point just like you do. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  6. Matt says:

    Hi Esra,

    Thanks for this nice post. I really like #7. I completely agree that your students are always looking to you for how they should react to an activity. If you are enthusiastic, they will be too!

    -Matt

  7. Esra says:

    Dear Matt,
    Thank you for your comment and especially highlighting number 7, because I think what you take is all about what you give. Being enthusiastic is very important if you want “learning” in your classroom:) Thanks again…

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