Teach English in Hengji Zhen - Yancheng Shi

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When teaching young learners there is a problem with discipline in the classroom. Trying to punish children for their natural, instinctive ( and often disruptive) behavior is troubling for a few reasons. The younger a student is, the more likely it is that they’re used to playing, running around and being generally loud, as this type of behavior is encouraged in the years before schooling in order to enable the child’s physical growth. However, this behavior can also be distracting in the classroom and inhibit the mental development of the students in question, because if they can’t sit down and listen, they’re not likely to learn much in a classroom setting. But is it right to discipline a student that is simply doing what they’ve up until now been encouraged to do? Well, with the right balance between play and learning, this problem can be reduced, if not completely removed. Including movement as a part of the lesson, with games like charades and ‘around the world’ we are able to assist in meeting some of the needs of the very active children, but what about those endless bundles of energy that seem to get into fights as soon as the teacher is looking the other way? Instead of removing the ‘victim’ and blaming the other child, it’s important to recognize that every moment can be an opportunity to teach the value of protecting every student’s right to learn. When dealing with fights, one must be fair and objective, getting the details of who, what, when, where, and why before assigning a fair punishment in accordance with the rules that are previously discussed with and agreed upon by the entire class. This way the teacher can remind the student that they agreed to behave and to break one’s agreements will bring consequences. Of course, you must be consistent when it comes to delivering punishment, and follow the rules of the institution. If you are just in your discipline, and don’t play favorites, the students will understand that you are someone that keeps the peace, and not an unruly dictator to be rebelled against. It’s important as well not to expect trouble, but to be prepared if it does occur. Positive reinforcement is just as important as outlining the rules, and one should never threaten a child to get them to fall in line. Instead, start by saying that you don’t expect trouble, and that you know that the class is full of good girls and boys who want to learn. By setting up the expectation of success, that sets up the creation of a good atmosphere. By contrast, if a teacher were to start off the class by saying, “ I know we have some trouble makers in here..” then they set the stage for unruly behavior right out of the gate. So, how do we make sure we are prepared for trouble without escalating issues that might be a one-off problem? In these cases, The Least approach is useful to determine how to respond in accordance to the size of the issue. L- leave things alone if the problem is small and unlikely to occur again. E- end the action indirectly if there is disruption to the classroom (by giving the child a look, or saying their name while walking toward them) A- attend more fully because more communication is needed to resolve the issue. S- spell out directions because disruption or harm will occur. T- track student progress to evaluate and reinforce behavior over time. Through this method and the approaches to fairness and general respect outlined above, all classrooms have a fighting chance at being peaceful, fun places of learning.