Teach English in Dongtai Zhen - Yancheng Shi

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The way a teacher communicates with his/her students affects the way students communicate with their teacher. Circle time is one of the best and most effective methods that enable young learners to express themselves discuss their feelings and release their inner thoughts and emotions. I am a witness and would highly recommend implementing circle time with students. It’s knocking two birds out with one stone. The students are freely speaking in English, creating their own sentences and in some cases allowed to create their own topic of discussion. They are also given the chance to speak up and let their thoughts and feelings be heard. I have been teaching Year 3 students for three years. Before receiving my current class, I spoke with the teachers who had them the year before. I was informed they were a bit problematic, have been in altercations, struggled with following rules etc. The beginning of the year with this class was not a breeze for me, I’ll admit. However, once we began circle time, the students were able to open up to me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. There are plenty of different ways of implementing circle time into your lessons. I also engage with my students by sitting in the circle with them. I am not an outcast, nor am I the vocal leader at this time. This gives a more genuine feel to circle time as students will feel a lot more comfortable expressing themselves. I play a game with my students where the person with the ball is the only one who is allowed to speak. The student can discuss how they’re feeling and if they have anything planned for the week. This allows each student to comfortably choose what information they prefer to share. Sometimes circle time can be used in the form of questionnaire through cards. Here, I like to ask my students interesting questions like, “If you were in charge of the school for one day, what would you do?” For this game, in order to keep everyone engaged, I randomly draw names from a cup. Before drawing the name, I ask the question first. This is to ensure that all students are listening and participating because they will not know if they’re going to be picked or not. Depending upon the class and students, circle time can get a bit emotional. As a teacher, it’s important to prepare yourself for possible scenarios to ensure students can confide in you. Some students might want to discuss problems at home or maybe a recent death in the family. Knowing how to respond is crucial as you want to keep circle time as trustworthy and dependable as possible. A few weeks ago my students were not behaving as expected and I couldn’t pinpoint where the problem was coming from. Later during that week, circle time came and everything was so clear to me at that moment. I had three students whose parents were travelling out of the country and they were forced to live with either their cousins or grandparents. Another student opened up to the class and told us that her mother and father were going through a divorce. After knowing this, I was able to understand they were going through social family withdraws which caused them to behave differently in order to seek attention. Me personally, as a teacher, circle time is one of my favourite lessons. Giving children the opportunity to talk things out and listen to their positives and negatives is just as important as teaching them. I noticed their attention span in the class increased after we began doing circle time. I would recommend all teachers to try it, especially with ‘problematic’ students/classes. Most of the time, they’re not bad students. They just need to be heard and given the opportunity to speak.