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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Dear Collegues: I need help !!    

Dear Collegues: I need help !!


Dear Collegues: I need help !!
Hi there!!!
This week I have started teaching for the very first time in my life and it īs been extremely demanding. I can  not believe the work and responsability a teacher really has to deal with.
The thing is, I don īt have a very good classroom management in the younger groups. The classes are formed by 30 students of 12 years. Some of them are really talkative, active and disruptive in class and I take a long time and effort to keep them quiet.
Do you have tips to keep them working?
Which techniques do you apply in your classroom to mantain a good learning atmosphere?
Please help me.
Cheers and good night to everyone !!!

13 Mar 2009      


Sometimes I give specific tasks to these students, like helping me with something. This will keep them busy and helps me with the classroom management.

You can also elect a student for the week, or for the month, according to their behaviour and cooperation in class. I have a chart on which they put a mark according to their performance in class and, in the end, the student of the week/month wins a prize (a simple pencil or so will do or, if you prefer, just make a certificate with their picture. They love to see it hanging on the wall).

Play games and other activities they enjoy but make sure they know how they īre suppose to behave and be very strict about it. If they know they won īt participate in those games when they misbehave they will try to do better next time. Well, at least it works for me.

Hope it helps. Good luck!

13 Mar 2009     

United States


I find its always best to begin with a strict, controlled atmosphere.  With time you can loosen up and give your students more freedom.  However, they have not earned that freedom yet and it seems like they are not able to handle it.  Begin by clearly posting the classroom rules somewhere in the classroom and reiterating them frequently--as many times is necessary per class period.  Monitor their behavior closely, and as they break classroom rules, point it out, and explain why it is necessary to follow the rules.  This is a crucial period and can set the tone for the rest of the year, so it īs important to remain firm and to focus on the rules and procedures, even if that means accomplishing less class work at the beginning.  It will pay off in time.
 A simple behavioral chart for each student, where students may earn or lose points each day is effective in helping them to monitor their own behavior.  Students who earn a certain amount of points during the week should be rewarded, whether its a free homework pass, a raffle ticket, or bonus points on a quiz or test.  Trust me, this works, especially for students around 12 years old.

  Establish a routine.  Consistency has a calming effect on students.  They feel comfortable when they know what to expect from you and what is expected from them.  Maybe you can start each class with a "Do Now" activity (a short worksheet or exercise), move into the day īs lesson, and then finish with practice exercises where they work independently.  Things will fall into place once your routine is established.

 As their behavior improves, you can give the students opportunities to socialize as they work by putting them in groups of 3-5.  This helps them release some of that energy and desire to talk to others, while there is a central task.  Try to place them in groups with a wide range of abilities so higher functioning students may help lower functioning students.

 Remember, your job is to be their teacher first, and friend second.  So it īs most important to create an atmosphere conducive to learning.  Don īt feel guilty about being strict,or if your class is not immediately īfun ī like you may have imagined.  You īre doing this to benefit your students and so that everybody can learn--not just to be mean to them.  At times you may feel like you are being mean, or going against your natural inclination, just keep in mind that it īs for their own good.

 Finally, point out their behavior when it is positive, making sure to explain how it benefited them (completion of an assignment, extra time for a fun activity, etc.)

 So, to sum it up

    1. Post the Rules and discuss them
    2.  Monitor their behavior, use a chart for emphasis with possible rewards
    3.  Establish a routine and consistency
    4.  Be firm
    5.  Remain confident that you īre doing this for their own good (and your sanity!)
    6.  Acknowledge positive behavior

  I īve been teaching in a high school for three years.  My classes are generally 30 to 35 students ranging in age from 14-19.  My first year, classroom management was without a doubt the most difficult and often frustrating challenge that I faced.  Many days I īd go home exhausted wondering what I was doing wrong.  As I became more confident and firm in my classroom rules and procedures the situation improved and the students actually became happier, more focused, and more productive.  I hope my advice can help you because I know exactly how you feel, and believe me, it gets easier!

 Finally, there īs one thing a teacher told me before I started teaching. He said, "Just be yourself."  I īve kept that in the back of my mind since the first day and still believe its the most important advice anybody has given me about teaching. Be yourself.
   Good luck!  And send an update in a few months...




13 Mar 2009     


Well, every group is different because they have different students interacting, but 12 year old kids are still a bit like children and on the other hand they want to be older, so you don īt have to push them hardly because they will reveal against you. Try to point to the good things they do any time they do something right or appropriate, they are still like kids inside so they like to be approved.

They are also very competitive, try to fix dead lines to your tasks, for example: 10 minutes to do this activity, they will hurry up to finish on time and that will make them concentrate better, if you give them different marks according to the order of finishing the task, they will work faster.

Encourage them to do the activities, make them feel you believe they can do it, ask them to show you how great they can work, tell them you will play a game if they finish 5 or 10 minutes before the end of the class.

WELCOME TO THE TEACHER īS WORLD!!! Demanding, exhausting, sometimes dissapointing but full of precious moments to remember for ever!!

The best of lucks................................Leticia

13 Mar 2009     

United States

Kids already know what constitutes good behavior. Have a class discussion where they "volunteer" a list of rules. Then have them copy the list into their notebooks, and ask 1-2 to make a poster to put on the wall. If they have a say in putting together the list, they are more apt to observe them. Good luck! Teaching is hard work!! ....xo, j

13 Mar 2009     

United Kingdom

A good summary of strategies worth a read.

13 Mar 2009     


Thank you all
for your useful answers !!!
Have an excellent weekend !!!Clap

14 Mar 2009     

New Zealand

Hi Miss MAria,

Have you tried praising the students doing the right thing when other students are being disruptive.  Sometimes ignoring them and giving attention to behaviours you want is more successful than the biggest telling off ever could be. 

Also ensure they are not bored and have work at their level.  Bored students are a pain in the backside!

14 Mar 2009     


Hi Marina , I īve just started teaching a big group and I īve settled a number of class rules , I printed them and made them sign a contract , I īve established a kind of game .Those who follow the rules will get stars made of eva foam and at the end of the month will have the possibility of changing them for treats .They are 10 years old and they are very eager to reach the end of the month with as many stars as they can gather .Classroom atmosphere has changed a lot they are concentrated , they participate a lot and still have fun .Try it and you īll see !! Hug Ana L īia

18 Mar 2009