Teach English in Wushenzhao Zhen - E'erduosi Shi — Ordos

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Teaching a class of young learners can be entertaining and enjoyable but it is challenging at the same time. The challenges might appear due to different factors and one of them is discipline. Behavioral issues appear because: this category of students is very energetic and sometimes impulsive; they can be easily distracted by their peers, but they also get bored very quickly; they have a short attention span (it depends on the age) and are always looking for fun. All these characteristics lead to discipline problems that should be dealt with carefully by applying certain techniques. First of all, on the first day of class a teacher should establish the basic behavioral rules, what is acceptable and unacceptable to do at the English lesson. It shouldn’t sound like a threat or intimidation but the students ought to comprehend what are the consequences of their misbehavior. In order to maintain discipline a teacher can create a rewarding system for those who behave well. For instance the students can get marks or points for good behavior. At the end of the course or semester, the ones who were the best get a reward, something they like but of course not expensive. Another alternative would be a short game that is played at the end of the lesson if they conduct themselves properly. This kind of things might motivate them; it is a better alternative to a punishment system when students experience negative feelings. As it was previously mentioned young learners get easily bored and distracted, if they feel that an activity is not interesting they start fidgeting and disturbing the others or they just become passive and don’t pay attention. In such situations, a teacher should keep in mind a few important things. The activities should be engaging and adequate to students’ age and level, they must be diverse (speaking, listening activities) and accompanied by visual aids or movements/changes of places. It creates some dynamics in the classroom and keeps them focused. While explaining the task, it is necessary to keep it short, concise and give an example how to do it, very often learners get confused when there is a long explanation and it creates a lot of unnecessary agitation and noise. When the lesson is longer than 45 minutes students get tired and lose interest even if the lesson is interesting; therefore it is advisable to have a break of 5 or 10 minutes during which you can sing together, do some physical exercises or play a game. It will freshen and cheer them a bit. Teacher’s attitude is another important aspect to take into consideration when you want to maintain discipline. It’s paramount to be objective, to treat everybody equally, to have a positive attitude, to involve everyone in the activities and assess them fairly. Young learners are very sensitive and they can easily understand if you are biased. When they detect it, a teacher loses his/her authority and they disobey you in different ways. Another aspect to consider is threatening. First of all, don’t make threats for minor faults, but when you do, it should be for something more severe and they should be carried out till the end. For example, if you threaten to call the headmaster or the parents then do it, because otherwise the students won’t take you seriously. There are instances when a student doesn’t want to do the activity for different reasons. In such situation this student will try to do something else like speaking with his classmates, thus disturbing the others. It is important for the teacher not to start shouting but to speak with this student separately by asking him why he is not doing the exercise, what he would like to do instead of it, etc. By finding out what the problem is, the teacher can come up with a solution, for example give this student another task or explain him why it is important to do it. However there are cases when a class just gets out of control, for different reasons. For instance, after a speaking activity when they are still engaged in a discussion about the previous topic, or when somebody did something funny and everyone starts laughing and making comments, etc. In such cases a teacher shouldn’t lose his/her temper, it would be more useful to stop speaking and just look at them, each of them. This way they become aware of your attention and feel uncomfortable, thus gradually the noise disappears. You can also make a deal with them: you leave the classroom for 2 minutes and ask them to finish their conversation by the time you come in. These are some of the solutions that can replace unnecessary shouting. To sum up, I would say that discipline is not about having all the students sitting quiet and still, it’s about having a relationship based on mutual respect, trust and communication. There are no exact rules about how to manage students’ behavior, something that might work for one class, might not work for other classes. That’s why it requires a lot of work, persistence and cooperation from both sides. As Pam Leo said “ You can’t teach children to behave better by making them feel worse. When children feel better, they behave better”.