All this does not mean that you turn your class into a place of dreary learning. First of all, the activities you would use with adults can work, but make them shorter. For example, a role play may have to last five minutes instead of 10. Also make sure activities are varied: an activity that involves moving about and noise needs to be followed by a quiet task that allows kids to “cool down”. Remember also that children will not do a task because it is good for their English. Tasks need an end result rather than being open-ended. Building in a quiz or competitive element can work or ask learners to produce work that is displayed on the wall.
It’s a great feeling when the children are busy, but their enjoyment of a task might manifest itself in terms of noise. Develop signals to get attention. This can be a raised hand or switching off the lights. Whatever you do, don’t try to out-shout a class because they will always win. Where groups of children are getting really loud it may be time to change the groups around. Adults like praise, but children really love praise. Avoid over-praising individuals and try to compliment whole groups.
Use affirmative commands like, “Please speak English” rather than negative reprimands like, “Stop speaking Spanish!” You’ll also avoid problems if you set out rules at the beginning of the course. If possible, involve the children in preparing and writing out the class rules – it is especially good practice with modal verbs. A child that then breaks these rules will see greater justice than if you make up your own rules on the spot. More importantly, you will be punishing the inappropriate behaviour, not the child.
Courtney from Study Moose
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