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Unread Feb 19th, 2005, 01:17 pm
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Default Classroom management (discipline)

I think figuring out how to handle "classroom management" is a vital part of being a good ESL teacher, and unfortunately comes only with experience. I've been teaching ESL for 5 years, and I've learned a lot about controlling a classroom, but I'm always interested in hearing tips from other teachers. Sometimes you get those classes that don't respond to anything in your bag of tricks and just make you want to pull out your hair. There are a lot of little things I do, but in general I try to avoid yelling as it just tires me out and I FIRMLY believe that it doesn't work, and I believe the kids feed off of it. If I'm yelling it just shows that the students have succesfully gotten under my skin, it doesn't demonstrate my authority. Also, if you save yelling for those really rare times when they've been SUPER-bad, it has a greater impact, as they're not used to hearing you get angry.

I also don't coddle students - if they don't like this game/activity/exercise or don't want to participate, they are pleasantly informed that they are welcome to sit in the office or go home (of course unless there is a good reason, like they have laryngitis or their grandma died or something). With younger students I sometimes use the "3 strikes you're out" rule, where a check is put by their name on the board each time they're breaking class rules, and after three they go to the office. This prevents tantrums at being kicked out as they know what's coming and they know it's within their power to prevent it.

For me the biggest problem is snarky, snotty, don't-care-if-the-teacher-sends-me-to-the-office-I-hope-I-can-piss-her-off-and-score-points-with- my-friends kids that I can't handle. Usually male and in the 10-13 age range. Beyond that I try to use humour to make kids feel foolish for acting like idiots, and I do tolerate a little goofing around as long as they don't push it because hey, they're kids.

Soooo.....what is your classroom management style? What things work/don't work for you? What type of student/age group/gender do you find most frustrating?
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