Classroom Management with EFL Students (by Natalie Britton)

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16 Responses

  1. Ben Shearon says:

    Teaching students in Korea is an EFL (English as a foreign language) situation -very different from ESL (English as a second language).

    Apologies for the pedantry, but they really are distinct 😉

  2. David Weller says:

    Hi Natalie, great post!

    Interesting reading about your experiences in South Korea (I’m in China). Of all the points you made, I totally and utterly agree with the ‘develop relationships’ technique.

    It works on so many levels – not only as a classroom management technique, but also the quality of the lesson goes up as the students ‘open up’ more in conversation in class. Plus, you enjoy the classes more as a teacher!

    I’d say that the quality of our classes and the enjoyment we get from them is directly related to how good our relationships are with our students.

    Many thanks again!

    • So true, David. Students are simply more comfortable and better equipped to learn when a positive relationship exists with the teacher. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Daniel Scott says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I, like David, also teach in China (at the elementary level), and I have used techniques 1, 3, and 4 and have them found them quite useful. I just have a couple slight variations.

    For technique 1, I utilize various quiet signals based upon what sort of activity the students are doing. When I taught PE and Character Building at our school last year, some of these other ones came more in hand because of the varying situations students would be in when I needed them quiet for a time.

    For technique 3, I wear a watch. This is so I can count the time, if need be, anywhere that I am at in the classroom. After holding the students a few times after class, I had a Chinese homeroom teacher approach me and ask about it. She then asked me to write the amount of time that the students had to stay after on the blackboard. She then incorporated the time written on the board with her classroom management. It was wonderful because she and I collaborated in many ways already, and now we were working together with the management side of things.

    Great post and keep up the work!

    • Daniel, the watch is a great idea. There are pros and cons to using the timer. On the one hand, it’s big and visual and students see it right away when I hold it up. On the other hand, if I’m not at the front of the class, I have to walk up to start the time. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Jack says:

    Having a happy face and sad face on the board really worked for my young students. If someone was misbehaving, then their name would be written under the sad face. If someone is really trying hard and behaving well, then under the happy face they go. It worked quite well with teenagers too.

    Building relationships is so important and the benefits extend past class management. I always found that getting the class leader on your side is half the battle.

    The timer is something new to me. As something similar, counting down from five usually brings silence to any class.

    • Those are great tips. The happy face, sad face idea reminds me of Whole Brain Teaching (which I really want to try next school year). I also count down from five and it works most of the time. I use the timer as a last resort. Thanks, Jack!

  5. ICAL TEFL says:

    Some nice ideas, Natalie. I like the quiet signal and I can see how this can be adapted over time and for different levels to give the class just that little extra English input.

    We put a few of our ideas for classroom management here: http://tinyurl.com/lwvlcte which you might find interesting.

  6. Natalie,

    I especially like the one about relationships and it is crucial to find out early who the “power brokers”are in the class and use that to advantage. We don’t manage a class as much as set up the class so it can successfully manage itself. That’s the goal.

    I also always emphasize to my own students (they are teachers) that if you want a class to quiet down, just speak softer, lower. Don’t ever try to raise one’s voice above the class level – its an occupational hazard! your voice is your income and keep care of it.

    David

    • Those are wonderful suggestions. Reminding the class that they are in control and have the power to turn the classroom into a postive or negative place is a great tactic. The less a teacher has to do, the better classroom manager he or she is!

  7. Halim says:

    I would like to be a member of this club .

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