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When kids don’t want to be there

 

angry student
Image: sizumaru

Teaching Villagers rock! I’ve shared two problem situations with you recently, and the advice has been superb. Both teachers really appreciated your shared wisdom. I have another teacher with another fairly common problem. I’m sure you’ll be able to provide some excellent ideas for this situation, too.

What do you do when you have a student who just doesn’t want to be in your class? Young learners don’t often choose to study English. They are in English class because their parents think it’s a good thing for them to do.

I have kids that just shout for no reason other than to be loud and annoy other kids. One kid broke all the lead in my mechanical pencil for no reason other than it was there. Then he (the pencil lead breaking kid) snuck upstairs after asking to go to the bathroom. (I teach at home.) I know he doesn’t want to be there. His mom is definitely sending her boys to English class to get them out of her hair (the younger brother is in kindy class and he doesn’t want to be there, but he’s not *too* disruptive or destructive). She has a 9-month old and a husband that doesn’t live at home right now. I don’t really want to tell anyone not to come (I need the money!) but … *sigh*. This is my elementary class–he is in 3rd grade. The class isn’t very demanding, we review what we’ve learned, we play games, and sing songs. It’s hard because the student doesn’t want or understand why he is in English class.

Can you help? Have you ever had a student who acted this way? What suggestions can you give this teacher?

A very bad, horrible, no good class

We’ve all had them! That class when, for whatever reason, nothing seems to go right. A teacher friend of mine had a class like that today.

 Parachute Games

Image: markheybo

It was worst… the lesson was worst… Kids were running around, laid themselves down on the floor, spoke Japanese a lot, didn’t listen to me and others from the song!!! But they were very nice to play with parachute.. One of their mothers told me, kids didn’t understand what I said during the lesson. So they felt the lesson was not so interesting. Have you ever had the lesson like that? What do you do for that?

 

This is a mixed ability class, where brand new beginners have joined an existing class. The beginners were the students who were most energetic (and a bit out of control). The mother offering her impression of the problem is the parent of one of the more experienced learners.

What advice can you share? What do you do with lessons go wrong? How do you integrate beginners in a continuing class?

 

The Little Girl and the Magic Words (Malu Sciamarelli)

In February, Malu wrote “Where do your stories come to life?” for Teaching Village. I’m thrilled that she has followed it up with an original story. Barb
The Little WriterThere was once a girl who lived in a world where all words ran free. They just existed everywhere, not written or imprisoned on paper, and people were very happy because every time they wanted to use them, they could see and understand their real meaning and there was not such thing as misunderstandings. The girl especially was always radiant, because when she thought about something nice to say, the words came tumbling out joyfully showing their meanings in the air; when she thought about a poem in her mind, everyone could see the words shining through the midday sun; and when she wanted to express all the love in her heart, they danced around the trees and flowers. The little girl was a transparent crystal reflecting her joyous soul to the world.

One day, the girl decided she wanted people from other worlds to be happy too, and listen to the beautiful things the people in her world could think and express with the words that ran free, but how could they travel so far and reach other people without being scrambled in the air? How could she know if people would see the beauty of her thoughts the words so gracefully expressed? That was when she had an idea: what if she glued the words carefully, one by one on the fallen leaves of trees so that her beautiful thoughts, poems and stories could be taken away and people from other worlds could read them too? The trees agreed and the words too.

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Relax. Repeat. Remember (by Jason R. Levine)

“Daddy, play it again!” my four-year-old daughter said.

“The same song? Again? (We’d already listened to it nine times in a row.)

Later that night, we would read the same storybook three times straight.

Young children want us to repeat songs and stories. They like to point at things, like pumpkins, and tell us, “I know what that is. It’s a pumpkin,” when they know that we know that they know what it is.

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Steps to Success (by Charlotte Mooney)

I use Steps to Success to motivate and track student achievement in a variety of areas.If you can measure it, you can track it using Steps to Success! Here, I’ll use  the example of teaching vocabulary about food to intermediate students who are able to write in English. For students at the pre-writing stage see see ‘adapting Steps to Success for non-writers’ at the bottom of the page.

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International conferences, for free

Last night, I watched David Crystal’s plenary talk at the IATEFL conference. Of course, it was still morning in Liverpool, where he was speaking. I couldn’t get to Liverpool this year, as much as I wanted to. But, being able to watch the livestream from the comfort of my living room is a pretty good deal. I was able to share the plenary with over 200 good friends in far flung corners of the globe. And for friends whose far corners don’t include decent Internet connections, there’s a recording. (more…)

Child Learning Through Child Play (by Marco A. Brazil)

10 Great Games that you can do with your Paper Cups, Paper Plates, Toilet Paper Rolls, Clothespins, and Bottle Caps

The best way to develop speaking skills in very young learners is to get the children to talk, but to do that very young learners need exciting experiences so they will have something to talk about. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create these experiences. The materials for these games are all free or very inexpensive. (more…)

More than five ways to use milk carton cubes

About 25 years ago, my co-author Ritsuko Nakata taught me how to make cubes out of milk cartons, and I’ve been using them in class ever since. I love recycling things and coming up with new ways to use them in lessons. I know that a lot of you do, too, so I’m beginning a new category for Teaching Village so that you can share your own ideas for creating and using inexpensive or free teaching materials. Recycling always makes good sense for the environment, and in tough economic times it also makes sense for our classrooms. (more…)

What Every Teacher Should Know About St. Patrick (by Patrick Jackson)

Note from Barb: Patrick first wrote this for Teaching Village in 2011, but it’s such a great post for St. Patrick’s Day that I decided it was worth sharing again :)

The real St. Patrick is shrouded in a deep mist (like many of his followers). Legend has it that he brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle while simultaneously banishing snakes.  Both these are clearly true. We still have some Christians and no snakes in Ireland. But what can language teachers learn from this Fifth Century Zero to Hero?

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It’s all about reading

libraryThis month, Let’s Share is all about reading.

Reading is arguably the most important skill we can help our students develop. While we assume that speaking and listening will be important in our students’ future lives and careers, we don’t honestly have any idea how much opportunity they’ll have to talk to other people in English. Being able to read in English, however, opens windows to the world. All of our students will have access to the Internet, and English is likely to remain the lingua franca online for the foreseeable future. Not being able to read in English limits our students to only that small part of the Web that is in their native language. (more…)