Sometimes it is difficult for parents to quiet down one child so you can imagine what a teacher has to do trying to keep kids on track. A lot of teachers start shouting or raising their voices in a noisy class but as usual, it doesn’t work. In this situation to be quiet and lower your voice forces children to listen to you and focus on details. You can even whisper to see the result and interest.
1. There is a good advice from a tuition teacher– to use a timer and give kids one minute to ask questions and complain. As the time is over you can ask them to return to work again. You shouldn’t give more than one minute so kids will know the limit. One more trick – to dim the light in the classroom to focus children on studying.
2. When you offer something, try to give them choice: to write this task or to read that. Children like to feel in control so give them a bit of it.
Have you ever been in a situation when some of your students were not paying attention texting or playing? Working with kids you have to interest them in your subject or they will be absorbed by something else. It is a real challenge to focus children on the task at the beginning of class. You can see a question in their eyes: “Why should I pay attention if others aren’t?”, and only real tutors can make them wonder.
3. Try to prevent an outbreak and strive for maximum learning for all your students. The opposite of dead time is active learning and active listening, so motivate them!
It is difficult to keep students focused when the lesson comes from the teacher so offer them to work as project-learning teams. But you can find an individual on the team who is not involved. Create different routines and activities that apply to various subject areas or styles of teaching. If your kids are very energetic you can suggest them physical activities to unleash pent-up energy. It is worth spending your time on developing these activities because you can manage your class later.
4. The first and really great thing you can do at the beginning of the lesson- to warm-up kids by asking them to find mistakes in material written on the board. It is a bit noisy but you can listen to many of the class at once and they will compete and collaborate. You can organize teams and ask them to work together to find all the mistakes. One team can describe the answer and another disagrees politely.
Use a simple choreographed physical movement as a small break. Add hand-clapping and foot stomping to create variety.
For a competition give teams of students scissors, two sheets of paper, ten paper clips, and a 10-inch piece of tape. Then ask them to build the tallest free-standing tower in 20 minutes. Other students can stand around as silent observers. Teach them to give a positive comment before a critical one. Switch the observers with the tower builders and see if they can do the task better.
5. One of the ways to settle students down is to do a “quickwrite”, or short journal-writing assignment. You can ask kids different questions about the event or thing: “What was the most interesting or confusing about it?”, “Summarize what you have heard”, “Defend one of the positions taken during the prior discussion”.
To hold everyone accountable for listening the entire time, make it understandable that you will never repeat your instructions after you have finished going over them. Encourage students to take risks without fear of being put down or teased. Write each student’s name on pieces of paper and put them into a box. Prepare different questions and make some of them easy to be successfully answered. Then take a paper and ask a question. It allows the bottom third of your class to get involved and answer without being put on the spot.
6. Try to ask questions that allow for multiple answers or explanations where everyone is expected to come up with at least one answer, but some may come up with more. Students can use sign language, such as holding a hand to the chest and displaying one or more fingers to represent how many answers they have.
7. Try to move from teacher-centered learning to student-centered active learning, and vice versa. After introducing a presentation talk to each other about their prior knowledge of the presentation, and generate a list of four questions for which they’ll want to know the answers. When a student on a team wants to ask you a question, you always ask another person on the team whether she knows what the question is.
If you want to interact with students make at least four to five simple rules for the classroom and write them down. You together with kids will use these rules to manage the classroom and establish boundaries among your students. For example all students must come to class on time and ready to learn, all students must be prepared to listen and ask questions by raising their hand, and all students must be aware of the consequences of missing class or turning in assignments late. Ask them about listening respectfully to others when they speak.
Better to share these rules and expectations with the class on the first day of school. It can be a good start and they can be posted on the board not to be forgotten. Suggest children the star system, where a student who follows the rules receives a gold star beside his/her name or a check mark. Group rewards can be effective when they reach a certain height the entire class is allowed to go on a special field trip or event. Aware the parents about your classroom rules because they can be involved in the process.
Using positive discipline, you can have more control in the class. As you will be advocating the students to make choices and decisions for themselves, rather than try to force them to act correctly. You can get a long-term peace in the classroom, as students will learn how to self-correct and how to come up with solutions or issues among themselves.
Do you use these tips in your class or do you have more examples from your experience?