Tomorrow (Wednesday, 12th December) at 12 noon UK time, I will be doing a webinar for the British Council's Teaching English website on classroom management with young learners as a follow-up to my recent Facebook chat on the same topic. In this post, I’ll be giving a quick overview with other posts expanding on some of the points covered in the session to come later this week.
Classroom management if one of those very broad areas of education that is both difficult to define and impossible to find easy answers for. I think a lot of teachers equate good classroom management with tight control, as shown by a Google image search of the topic bringing up a number of images like this:
However, my approach has changed over the years to focus more on getting the students to feel comfortable, relaxed and involved in the lessons. I find these factors help create a positive environment for learning and make ‘controlling’ the class (by which I mean keeping them on task and enthusiastic) easier.
From the very first lesson, I try to get students involved by having them discuss and agree on class rules as well as suggesting some rules for me to follow. This helps them feel valued and part of the decision making process.
I then work on establishing rapport with my young learners. I try to learn about them and their interests, and not just as a project or generic ‘getting to know you activity’ but as a way to make connections with them. I use the information I find out about them to personalise lessons and find ways to engage them.
I also ask my students to come up with material and ideas for activities, both in the classroom and on our class blogs. Again, this helps them feel valued and involved and ensures the lessons are more engaging for them.
The most recent addition to my approach has been ‘gamification’. By introducing concepts such as ‘class achievements’ and ‘level ups’, an element of fun has been added to our lessons which encourages the students to follow the rules and rewards them for doing so.
If you also have some ideas to share about classroom management and young learners, please join us tomorrow at 12 o’clock UK lunchtime. To join the session, just click on this link and follow the instructions. If you can’t join us ‘live’, there will be a recording of the session available, details of which I will share here when available.
A bit of pre-webinar reading
Establishing the ground rules - written by Jo Budden on the Teaching English website.
Democracy in Action…. in Primary School English - a post describing how I negotiated rules with last year’s classes.
Building positive relationships with young learners - a post I wrote for Prestwick House about establishing rapport.
Tips for teaching young learners - written for Shelly Terrell’s blog.
Let it snow - an example of how I got students to generate content for a whole series of lessons with a simple drawing activity.
Getting Students to Write? Easy with a Video-Penzu-Monday - a great example from David Mearns of getting students to choose material for a lesson.
Taking classroom management to the next level - a post about the ‘gamified’ rewards system I have been using this year.
Unlocked achievements - a post by Graham Stanley from the Digital Play blog.
Cross-posted on the Teaching English website: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/davedodgson/making-connections-classroom-management-young-learners-webinar-preview