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INTERNATIONAL HOUSE Young Learners Training Course Classroom Management Jane Delaney International House Tarragona

Written June 2001

2 List of contents Title Page List of contents Main aims of the session / session outline Tutors Notes: Stage 1: Warmer Stage 2: Brainstorming Stage 3: Discussion Activity / Idea sharing Stage 4: Further Discussion Bibliography Materials Pages Answer Keys - Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3

- Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8-12 - Page 13-18

3 CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT Main aims of this session Classroom Management with Younger Learners is a very wide subject, and its issues and problems differ with different age groups. Concerns with Younger Learners aged 4-8 are very different from those expressed by teachers of teenagers, for example. In this session, I have chosen to focus on critical moments in the lesson: I hope to encourage teachers to identify stages of the lesson when we need to establish firm routines and patterns of behaviour. I have not focused on stirring and settling, because again, I think it is a wide issue, and, of course, what stirs and settles a class of 8 year olds is not the same as what stirs and settles a group of teens. However, it may be useful for trainees to read about this (Halliwell p 20-21), and for the tutor to them revise the terms in the following sessions. The session on Lesson Planning assumes that trainees are familar with this concept. Session Outline Stage Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Activity Warmer dictation and discussion Brainstorming Mingling / Discussion with prompts Further Discussion based on pre-reading

Note: Pre and Post-Session Reading Tasks The following reading should be set before this session. P19, Teaching English in the Primary Classroom, Susan Halliwell, Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers, 1992. (Materials Page 4) P20-21 would provide a useful follow-up.

4 Tutor Notes: Stage 1 Aim: Warmer Handouts: None Materials: Writing Materials Time: 20 minutes Procedure: 1. Tutor dictates the following statements: I frequently have to raise my voice to be heard over the class. I get angry with my Younger Learners, and show it. I use punishment and reward systems. Sometimes I cant hear myself think. 2. In pairs, trainees discuss to what extent they agree or disagree with these statements. 3. Change pairs, further discussion of ideas. 4. Ask teachers to consider WHEN they feel like this, at what stages during the lesson. (This stage could be combined with Stage 3.) 5. Tutor manages very quick feedback from the whole group. Try to keep this first stage of the session fairly short: a lot of classroom anecdotes will probably come up, not all relevant to the topic. They can be noted down and discussed later. It is important for teachers to recognise that at times we have to modify our expectations of our Younger Learner classes, often during the lesson itself (this can tie in to the reading in Stage 4). For teachers who have limited experience of teaching Younger Learners Do you find any of the above statements worrying? Why? Which do you expect to encounter in your YL classes? For more experienced teachers What do you do when you feel like this during a YL lesson? If trainees are going to work through the session on their own, they could simply read, reflect and write down their thoughts in their reflection journal. It would be interesting to see how their ideas might change during the course of the session.

5 Tutor Notes: Stage 2 Aim: Brainstorming Handouts: None Materials: Writing materials, such as felt-tips, paper, etc. Time: 20 minutes Procedure: 1. Tutor asks trainees to brainstorm what kind of activities / procedures in the Younger Learner classroom dont always run smoothly. You may wish to get trainees to work in two groups who then compare their answers. We are continuing to focus on the WHEN of classroom management, at what points during the lesson we must be especially careful. Possible answers could include: when students enter the class, when we set up activities, when some children finish an activity quickly, etc.

Tutor Notes: Stage 3 Aim: Discussion Activity / Idea sharing Handouts: Materials Page 1-3 (prompts) Materials: writing materials, such as felt-tips, paper, etc. Time: 30 minutes Procedure: 1. We have identified some critical moments in the classroom, now lets think about what kind of routines we can establish to help us at these stages. Tutor puts prompts from Materials Pages 1-3 on the wall around the classroom, and ask trainees to mingle and write any comments under the prompts. 2. Feedback in groups: each group takes a heading and feeds back to whole group, inviting more comments. Tutor can feed in comments from Answer Key 1. Answer Key 1 can be given to trainees to take away with them.

6 For more experienced YL teachers A development of the When the teacher addresses the class section. Trainees can brainstorm effective ways of getting silence / the students attention in the class. The tutor can feed in ideas from Answer Key 2.

Tutor Notes: Stage 4 Aim: Further Discussion Handouts: Pre-session reading task (Materials page 4) Materials: None Time: 20 minutes Procedure: 1. Discussion of short extract set by tutor as pre-session reading: P19, Teaching English in the Primary Classroom, Susan Halliwell, Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers, 1992. 2. Focus on being realistic in our expectations of ourselves and our learners: we cannot expect everything to always go smoothly and quietly. For less experienced teachers Is there anything in the article which surprises you? For more experienced YL teachers Encourage teachers to reflect about some of their classes: how much learning actually goes on? Do we sometimes mistake lots of energy raising activities and elevated noise levels as learning? Do we sometimes just play for the sake of an easy life? Do we sometimes give up on our classroom management because it just seems such an uphill slog at times?

In addition to the above, they could also consider the questions found in Materials Page 5. The article from IATEFL Issues called Discipline could also encourage further discussion and reflection.

7 Bibliography Pre-session reading task: Teaching English in the Primary Classroom, Susan Halliwell, Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers, 1992 Page 19 Further Reading for teachers with little YL teaching experience Teaching Children English, (A training course for teachers of English to children), David Vale with Anne Feunteun, Cambridge University Press, 1995 Pages 99-103 Teaching English in the Primary Classroom, Susan Halliwell, Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers, 1992 Page 20-21

Further Reading for more experienced teachers. Article entitled Discipline by Keith Brown, IATEFL Issues, January 1999

8 Materials Page 1

When students enter the classroom

When we begin activities and give instructions

9 Materials Page 2

When the teacher addresses the class

When the teacher asks questions and the students answer

10 Materials Page 3

When the students are easily distracted

When we end the lesson


Materials Page 4

It is (also) unreasonable to imagine that all language classes take place with about fifteen children in a sound-proof room, out of sight of colleagues. Similarly, we cannot reasonably expect children to be angels. If we are encouraging them to interact, to joke, to be creative and independent, then there will be times when they become silly. There can be few teachers who can swear hand on heart that they have never heard themselves say wearily, OK. If you cant be sensible about this (its usually something the teacher has taken hours to prepare) well have to do something very boring. For the childrens sakes and ours its a situation to avoid. Language classrooms are potentially noisy and demanding places. We need to be realistic in our expectations of ourselves and our learners. However, this does not mean that we should cynically expect and accept the second rate. It does not mean, for example, that we should reject the idea of pairwork because our classes are big, or not very able, or poorly motivated. On the contrary, being realistic should mean taking realities into account in such a way that good things can still happen.


Materials Page 5

The following are comments from experienced teachers of Younger Learners, about certain types of student.

What could be the causes of these problems? Are there any solutions? 1 The fast finishers are a real problem: they do all the work really quickly, then they start playing and distracting the others. 2 If I turn my back for a second, they start talking and misbehaving. 3 The students arrive as a group, they are over-excited, and it takes ages for them to settle down. 4 Sometimes, halfway through the lesson, one student gets up out of his chair, goes to the board and starts drawing pictures. 5 She just says a point blank No, Im not going to do it, in her native language.


Answer Key 1

When students enter the classroom We need to be firm from the word go. The tone for the lesson is set from this point. It might sound strict, but dont accept sloppy or rowdy behaviour from the children when they enter the classroom: they are not allowed to do that at school. Children, maybe even more so than adults, are creatures of habit. They like routines, it provides them with security and is also what they are used to. Mimimize the disruption that latecomers can cause: teach them to knock on the door before entering. Train the children to put away their coats and bags, to take out their folders and put everything else away. Chewing gum should go in the bin, food and drink be put away for later. We can use monitors for collecting homework and giving out books, the children can take turns in writing the date on the board at the beginning of the class. When you call the register, you can ask each child a question when it comes to their name, their telephone number, their favourite colour and so on. This switches them on to English and gives them a reason to pay attention immediately at the beginning of the class. Treat the group as a group: we need ALL the children to cooperate and follow our routines. With the class as a whole we need to be consistent and firm, but this doesnt mean that we cant be warm with individuals.


When we begin activities and give instructions We need to have EVERY students attention. If we begin an activity when only half the class are listening, we not only lose valuable time in setting up and re-explaining, we also send out the signal to the class that what we are doing isnt important. Wait for silence. Dont give out worksheets or let the children open their books until you have made it very clear what they are to do and what page they are to look at. Always give an example of what they have to do first, rather than handing out the worksheets and then explaining: the childrens attention will be distracted by the illustrations or by the activity on the other side. When the teacher addresses the class It might be a good idea to lower your voice, which forces the children to quieten down and listen to you. Be careful about raising your voice. Save it only for special occasions. If you shout, the noise levels in general tend to rise, and you end up losing authority. Things get louder and louder and you get smaller and smaller. Establish a code for getting their attention: there are various non-verbal ways you can do this. Clap and the children have to follow your rhythm immediately. Make a physical gesture (raising one arm in the air): the children have to follow suit and stop whatever they are doing. Establish a positive anchor: move away from the noise to a different part of the classroom, or adopt the same posture. With time, the children will associate this with a call for silence.


When the teacher asks questions and the students answer Dont always respond to the students who are shouting out, otherwise every question and answer session becomes a noisy brainstorm. This also means that it is the louder children who get more of the teachers time and attention. Insisting that younger classes put their hands up takes time, but if you stick to it, it works. When a student interrupts or dominates during a question and answer session, dont always respond to that student, keep looking at the nominated child and keep the others on hold. Move towards noisy or distracted children, in a non-threatening manner. When the students are easily distracted Limit what the children have on their desks. If you want them to focus on you, then dont let them have a choice of books open in front of them to distract them. Its amazing how much interest the illustrations in their picture dictionaries can generate when they should be copying from the board or listening to the cassette. If the children are being naughty, remember that it is always the ACTION that we disapprove of, and NOT the child. If we have to punish a child, then make sure that they are reintegrated as soon as possible into the group. Oh, and try and catch them being good, and acknowledge the fact! When we end the class Dont let the class disintegrate. End the class as you began, in an orderly fashion. Have all students in their seats before dismissing the class as a whole. Allow for packing away and tidying up time. Dont let anyone leave until the scissors have been collected and


the dictionaries returned. If an activity takes so long to set up and clean up, think carefully about why you are doing it in an hourlong class. Make sure that instructions for homework are on the board and not shouted out by you over the heads of departing students.

17 Answer Key 2

WAYS TO GET SILENCE IN THE CLASSROOM 1 Dont raise your voice if you want silence in the classroom! This has the negative result of raising the students energy levels even more. You get louder and louder and so do the students, which compounds your failure and makes you lose authority.

2 If you constantly use your voice to get silence, things could develop into a battle of wills. Use a small bell, a tap on the blackboard, raise both arms in a heads and shoulders routine which the students have to copy: hopefully they should find it hard to talk and copy you at the same time. 3 Stand in a prominent place and whisper quietly. The students nearby will go silent in order to hear what you are saying, and the whole class will gradually quieten down. 4 Place a notice on the wall which says SILENCE! When you want the students attention, move to the sign and simply point. The students will become conditioned to this signal: you have created a positive anchor, if you only ever go to stand and point for this reason. 5 Shout out an instruction that all the class has to follow: stand up, imitate an elephant, hands on heads. Or clap / tap a rhythm that the students must immediately copy. Keep changing it, so they dont take it for granted that they know what to do.