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June 29, 2006

Tips and Tricks- Keeping Your Students Still

Hi all!

To keep with the theme of summer camp, let's talk about student behavior. Now I'm all for making students feel comfortable, but I do think that there is a time and place for everything. Be it young children or mature adults, students of all ages like to fiddle with things and move around. For young children, perhaps it's to get attention, and for adults, it might be a way to keep themselves awake. Regardless of the reason, you need your students to sit still. So what do you do? Do children and adults react the same?

In my experience, I've found that the best thing to do is...

...to have a set command ready. My personal favorite is something a fellow CELTA trainee used during our CELTA training. So what is it? Sit on your hands. Easy. It makes both children and adults laugh- and it works! Your students will sit on their hands and thus have nothing to do but listen to you. Brilliant.

Another thing you can do if your students would rather stare out the windows and daydream about what other things they could be doing on a beautiful summer day than be sitting in your classroom (hopefully your class will be more exciting than that) is to tell the students who are listening to you to raise their hands. It's quite similar to a drinking game we used to play where the last person to put their pointer finger on the table had to down another drink. While you may not want to introduce drinking to your students, the same kind of punishment can be applied- but with a twist. For example, the last person to hold up his/her hand has to ask the person to the left a question, has to recite a tongue twister, or has to demonstrate the next activity with the teacher.

It is possible that your students are simply too wound up to sit still. In which case, forget about your lesson plan for a minute and give them something to do that will allow them to let off some steam. A simple game of Simon Says, Captain May I or a Running Race should do the trick.

Ultimately, it is up to you to remember the cardinal rule- teach to the students and not to the plan!

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

*Looking for more articles that discuss tips & tricks for the ESL classroom? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, has lived and worked in China since 1998. During that time, she has worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She’s worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she’s also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing as well as working as an ESL instructor for the Australian International School of Beijing. Carol is also enrolled in Oxford Brookes' MA TESL program in Oxford, England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at June 29, 2006 12:52 AM

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