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5 additions you can make to get you closer to your perfect classroom.

1. Student orientated. 

We all have teaching goals that we’d like to hit every class, but truth be told, do we ever truly reach them. Sometimes it’s more important to follow the students’ needs than it is your own. This being said, it doesn’t mean that because the students want to play all day long you should let them crack on, it simply means that follow the pace of the class, not the book. Plan in advance for tricky grammar classes, be aware of what may be tough for students to understand. You should be as much a member of the class as any other student. Know them, follow them, learn from them.

Another point is that, aside from the teaching aspect of class, talking time should be controlled by students, with you guiding the way. Give group work time and encourage questions and debating from other students when applicable. The more students see you encouraging ‘free speech’ the more they’ll be willing to jump in and say what they feel.

By doing this, you have created a place where students feel their opinions and ideas are valued not criticised. 

2. Practical application. 

Most textbooks I’ve used in classes are along the same lines as the last, and will probably be roughly the same as the next. After all, there is a proven process for teaching English. However, what no book stresses is the vital importance of repeating over and over what has been learnt in class. Learning and understanding (passive learning) is one thing, but the ability to be able to use what you’ve learnt (active learning) in everyday conversation is completely different, it’s a thousand times harder. 

The best way to keep the knowledge they’ve gained, and allow it to grow, is to use what you’re learning and what you have learnt on a daily basis. 

A conversation box at the start of class works great, if you’re not into that, a question/topic/pictures given work just as well. Just anything to get them talking freely for 2-4 minutes at the start of class.

3. Incorporate interests.

You’ll never be successful in your classes without knowing what your students are interested in. It’s so obvious that individual students are different and require different learning strategies. But many seem to overlook the huge differences in classes. What works in one class may not work in the next, making it necessary to be able to spot the differences in all of your classes, and change accordingly. 

Prepare activities that allow students to show what they like and why. Also be attentive in class, try lots of different activities and see what they respond to best. 

Remember the goal is to make students want to learn out of interest not incentives. 

4. Making the world a better place.

As an ESL teacher, most of us are coming from developed counties and have been given the rare opportunity to teach the ways of a modern age citizen. What better place to start than with the youth of today. There will be many a time when you’re given the opportunity to inform and inspire young minds, helping them to become better people. Take full advantage of this opportunity, and even create your own opportunities by fitting it in to your lesson plans. I like to sneak topics of my own into the class conversation box, that I know will create moral dilemmas. 

5. Display boards.

It always warms my heart to see a child truly proud of the work they’ve created. I like to encourage it by putting it up for all to see. Not only will it make that child shine for the next week or so, it encourages other students to get thinking of their own masterpiece. Weather it be pictures or essays, I’m not really picky, so long as it is English related and they have spent time creating it, on the board it goes! You’ll be surprised just how many students enjoy the feeling of being on the board. I was.

There you have it, 5 additions to your class that will make your class a better place. Quick fixes are a no no in my opinions. Motivating students shouldn’t be purely based on giving them what they like, it should be a team effort to create a place where learning is what they like! Well…that’s the dream anyway! 

We hope you enjoyed reading this post. Remember to share with your friends and fellow teachers. Do you have anything to share? If so, get in touch!

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