Updated: Jun 21, 2019
When faced with 25-40 bright young faces looking up at you from their desks, many people have no idea where to begin.
How do you control these energetic students and get them to focus on what your lesson is about?
Some may be swinging from the chandeliers while others simply just want to draw in their notebooks, yet you as an ESL teacher are supposed to grab all their attention and deliver a quality English lesson.
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Simple classroom management of following school rules doesn‘t apply to young students anymore. The internet world and digital gaming have become such an integral part of their lives.
As educators, we need to tap into this interest and use it to our advantage. Namely; getting students to focus, behave and be productive in class.
So what do we do?
We combine the old with the new and adapt!
I am now going to show you how we combine these 2 assets and create a system that is both fun and engaging for students and the teachers!
These are systems that I have been using for the past year and they have worked tremendously!
This classic game can be used to entice students to participate in class and help to engage the quieter students as well.
Ideally this game is perfect for students in upper secondary and high school.
As most students are aware of the rules of this game, explaining the classroom version is simple.
Students are split into 3-4 teams.
Each teams starts with $1500 (or stars or bitcoin or whatever interests the students)
All teams begin at START.
When a student follows the class rules, answers a question or a team completes a task during the lesson's activities, the team will have a chance to roll a dice and move their piece around the board game.
Like Monopoly, there are various property blocks that charge rent, utilities blocks, a jail block (team skips a roll), a question block (where the team has to answer a question) and an auction block (where teams can auction off houses to get money).
Depending on which block the team lands on, they have to either buy the property, pay rent, or complete a task.
The team with the most money at the end wins.
2) Rescue The Princess
The classic Disney stories can also be used and adapted for classroom management.
What I did this year for primary school students was use various fairytales from around the world and created these stories and tasks for the students to complete in order to win the game.
In the game' Rescue The Princess, the rules are simple, grow your princess' hair so the princess can be saved by the prince. If the students misbehave, their princess visits the barber.
That's right! Rapunzel.
Hence, giving the instructions for this game is even simpler.
Split the class into 3-4 teams
When a student or team answers correctly, or completes a task correctly, they get to grow a piece of the princess' hair.
When a student or team follows the class rules, they can grow a piece of the princess' hair.
The teacher can choose how many hairs it takes to win and so on.
3) League of Legends (or similar)
The famous League of Legends game can be used in class to motivate students as well.
This idea came to me when I was asking some of my students what their favourite games were and LoL was top 3 along with World of Warcraft and Arena of Valor.
So I thought, let's use this to help motivate the students to participate in class.
The rules for this game are a bit more complicated, but this game be used for upper primary and secondary students.
The basic premise for this game is to build your character and cross the finish line.
The rules are as follows:
Split the class into 3-4 teams.
Each team gets to name a character.
Teams earn coins by following the class rules, participating in class or by completing a task set out by the teacher during the lesson.
Their character has to earn minimum 3 coins to visit "The Shop"
At "The Shop" they can buy 1of 4 things below. (everything costs 3 coins)
1) Move One Space
2) Power Up (their coins double)
3) Shield (to protect from attack)
4) Attack (attack another player to make them move back one space or lose a shield)
Teams must make a strategy to reach the end of the board game.
This game can last 2-3 months depending on the class.
In conclusion, my artwork needs some management and training itself.
But most importantly, the system that you use needs to relevant and engaging for the student.
It's all good to have a system that gives them praise, but they need to know why, and what do they get out of it?
At the end of each of my games, I would buy my students a little gift for doing so well. Then we would a new game with new teams.
Your TEFL course can prepare you somewhat for classroom management, but the trick is: Keep it fresh and interesting and the students will love your classes.
Leave a comment below with your ideas and thoughts!