You know when you have one of those days where
everyone decides to play up? Well, that happened to me last week. It was
Tuesday and something happened in all three of my classes; leaving me wondering
why I bother to put so much effort in my classes. Sound familiar?
Luckily when I saw those three classes on the Thursday
it was a different story, but if I hadn’t taken action then I might had gone
even more mental than I already am after a year doing the DELTA.
|How do you discipline?|
Photo by grotuk
A bunch of energetic 7-8 year olds. 6 hadn’t studied
for the mini exam, the other 6 hadn’t done their homework, and throughout the
class about 3 dropped the entire contents of their pencil cases on the floor. Not to
mention the occasional name calling (not to me).
I wasn’t a happy bunny, and at the end of the class I
told them they weren’t my favourite class anymore. “When I get home my wife
asks me about you lot,” I said in Spanish, “and I always say how good you are
in class, but not today. My wife won’t be happy.” One student looked as if she
was going to cry.
Thursdays’ class was much better. Everyone did their
homework, they were much more responsive, and at the end of the class three
asked if they were my favourite class again. “Of course you are,” I said. “You
guys were excellent today.” Let’s see how long it lasts.
Another young learners’ class: aged nine and ten. It
was the homework again. Seven of the eleven hadn’t bothered to do a quick five
minute activity. The pressure was building up.
“Get your notebooks out,” I said when I’d done a quick
check of their activity books. “Copy this,” I added, writing I will do my homework because it is
important for the exams x 30. A
couple of the kids who’d done their homework moaned. “Blame your colleagues,” I
said. “You all know the rules about homework.”
What was the outcome?
Next lesson everyone had done the lines, and their
homework. Apart from one kid who is probably still writing out his extra 20
lines right now. Good old fashioned lines always do the trick.
This was a class of 12-13 year olds. It started well;
everyone had done their homework. The lesson went fine, until the last fifteen
minutes when we were practising for their oral exam. I just spent ages briefing
them on the exam and helping them with their pronunciation. I sat eager with my
pencil to pick up on any pronunciation issues. However, most of the class
thought I wasn’t listening and they started to speak in Spanish. I gave them a
chance to speak in English, but they didn’t. At the end of the class they could
see I was bubbling, but I just said goodbye and showed them the door.
When they turned up on Thursday and saw that the door
was shut they could sense I was mad. “When you come in,” I said, opening the
door, “sit down, no Spanish, and you have 20 minutes to do what I have written
on the board.” From my tone they could tell I was annoyed. On the board I had
written: Why are you hear? 100 words – to
present to the class (and maybe the director).
This is only the third time I’ve done this in my
teaching career and it always works wonders. All of the students realised they
had done wrong and explained why they were there: “because I shouldn’t speak in
Spanish,” “because my parents are paying money for me to learn English,”
“because English is important for my future,” “because Barry teaches us how to
pronounce the words and we need to listen to get a good oral mark.”
The director didn’t come in, but they got the picture,
and the rest of the lesson was excellent. I don’t think they’ve ever spoken so
much English before.
So here are my top ways of disciplining younger
learners and teenagers.
|Nothing like a good stare...|
Photo by Imapix
There’s nothing like a good strong stare to stop a
class from being disruptive.
This works well with the one above. Standing silent at
the front, occasionally looking at your watch or tapping your pen on the board
is a great way to get the class quiet and to pay attention.
You’re not my favourites
As seen above. I try not to say this with every class,
and it doesn’t work every week either.
Good old fashioned lines are a great way to waste
students’ time at home after they waste yours. Sometimes I rip the lines up and
throw them in the bin in front of them; depends how I feel!
I’ve used this system for the last few years and it
works well. You decide your own rules with the students about what is
considered to be a red or yellow card. I use it for homework, too much Spanish,
naughty behaviour, and swearing. Two yellows are a red, and three reds in one
term results in a phone call to parents. I’ve never had to call a parent.
If I’m having problems getting one or two kids to do
the homework then I say: “Right, if one person doesn’t do their homework next
class, then everyone gets double.” Peer pressure is a great way to shake up a
couple of boisterous / lazy ones.
Students hate being sent out. I know I used to. I try
to send out a couple of kids in the first two weeks of term, just to show them
who’s boss, and then when it’s necessary to have a chat with a student.
I do this as a last resort. It works well and you get
to see that most students really care about their studies and their future. It’s
a great way of giving the class a wakeup call now and then so they think about
why they are learning English, and the fact they are privileged to be able to,
especially in Spain at the moment.
So those are my top ways to discipline and control a
class. What do you do? Any good tips then leave them below. Thanks.
Labels: best ways to control a class, esl discipline, how to control students behaviour, how to discipline students