TEFL tips! Classroom management: Red and Yellow card

This is the first of a new series of blogs titled TEFL tips. After 10 years of teaching I reckon I have enough sneaky tips for new and experienced English teachers to warrant a few blogs. The main idea is that these blogs will be short, informative, and useful so you can read them quickly and immediately apply them to your lessons. Each month will have a different focus.

Would love to have one of those in my class!
Photo by Stefan
This month’s focus is classroom management and my first tip is about a red and yellow card system I use. I’ve spoken about this before but it’s worth mentioning again. At the start of term I tell my students that they could receive a red or yellow card during class. If they get three red cards in one term then I tell their parents about their behaviour, or lack of. Two yellows in the same week make a red. After each week the yellow card is void.

You can set your own rules, or get them to decide, but I normally use the following:


Using too much L1.
Not paying attention or listening.
Arriving late (as long as it’s not the parents fault).
Generally messing about.


Not doing homework.
Inappropriate behaviour: too much L1, swearing, insults.
Persistently not doing enough work.
When I feel like giving one out.
If a student catches me out too. I have received a couple of the years.

Students hate getting a red card. It’s a great system and after the first couple of weeks I rarely have to use the cards. I’ve never called a parent either.

Have you got a useful system for controlling student behaviour? Next week there will be a tip on sending students out of the class.

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