Classroom management is one of the elements of an ESL class that teachers, especially new ones, struggle with the most. If you think about it, managers in a company usually don’t find that managing their staff is an easy task; thus, good people management skills are key. And people (or children) management in a classroom is and can be even more challenging.

That being said, let’s look at four tips that you can use to help you manage your ESL class.

We also have this: Classroom Management in a Nutshell

Tip #1: A Student-Centered Learning Environment

Creating a student-centerd learning environment means that the ESL teacher puts the needs of the students first, and thus when practising the language, focus is placed on the students as opposed to the teacher. Students need to be doing most of the engaging and talking in any lesson, while the teacher merely facilitates the manner in which students communicate. The teacher should also advise on correct language usage and help create a safe environment in which student can practice what they are learning.

Tip #2: Classroom Rules

When a teacher first starts teaching a class, making the ESL classroom rules clear to all the students is a must. If the students are old enough, you can even give them ownership of the rules by asking and getting their input. The rules for the classroom should be visible, meaning you need to have them up on the board (if space allows) or dedicate a portion of a wall for the classroom rules poster. Another thing to keep in mind is to enforce the rules consistently.

Tip #3: Non-Verbal Signals

These can be super handy to help you manage the volume of the ESL class, classroom manners, and/or issue warning signs. A teacher can easily tailor these non-verbal signs to each class, and students can also help with ideas on how to put these in place. A well-used non-verbal signal that teachers use in ESL classes today is to raise one hand to mean that he or she is asking the students to quiet down.

Tip #4: Donation Jar

This classroom management skill works similar to how a ‘swear jar’ would work at home. Every time a student speaks in their native language (when not allowed), they have to add to the donation jar. For kids, the ESL teacher wouldn’t use money, but can instead hand out coupons with their name written on. At the end of the lesson, week, or theme, the teacher would count the tokens to see who spoke in their native language the most. The teacher can assign extra homework or think of another creative way as punishment or reward for the rest of the class.

Let us know in the comment section what are some ways you use to manage your ESL class.

Click here for another look at classroom management techniques. Or visit our Teaching Tips blog for more general information on teaching young learners English.

About the Author

Denine Walters is currently a freelance writer, editor/proofreader and ESL teacher. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world and, before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan. In her free time, she likes to read, do scrapbooking and grammar quizzes, and travel.

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