There will be times in your TEFL career when you are really challenged in terms of student motivation and classroom management. Students, especially children, can be temperamental – but one of the things you’ll quickly learn is that how you behave as a teacher largely dictates how your students behave. Here are some key things to take into consideration in your classes:
- Don’t shout – Students see this as a sign that they have won. Instead try different tactics such as finding a place to stand that shows the students you are waiting, or refer back to the rules and carry out the consequence. Some good punishments include increasing word counts for homework, deducting break time, letters home to parents etc.
- Do a points system – (for children) In the first lesson put students into groups of around four and get them to decide on a team name. Ask them to draw four horizontal boxes in which they must write their name in large letters to one side. Students get a point for good behaviour and get a point deducted for bad behaviour (doing/not doing homework, using/not using English). If you can, use stickers so students can put their points up themselves (gives a greater feeling of accomplishment).
- Stick to the rules you set – Set the classroom rule, from day one enforce them and stick to them. There’s no point in developing rules that you will let be broken – students need to know that measures will be taken if they step out of line! You know what happened to the boy who cried wolf don’t you?!!
- Keep it varied and interesting – If you want your students to be interested you have to keep things interesting! Use materials which interest your class and have a variety of activities. Don’t stick to the same old activities – they’ll soon get boring.
- Be positive – Students pick up on their teacher’s mood more than you think. Enthusiasm is really infectious in the classroom. It’ll also make you enjoy your job more. Also if your students like you they will be less likely to want to disappoint you!
- Treat everyone equally – Students respect their teacher more if he/she is fair.
Every teacher has their own style and methods – work out what works best for you but remember you may need to adapt your style for different classes. What works with one class may not work for another….