If it’s a new school year, then it’s time for teachers to reflect on how to structure their language classes. Experienced teachers are reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work and new teachers are seeking advice as how to ensure students comply with their requests. We teachers are constantly refining what I call “our inner teaching voice”. Here are four ideas to consider adding to your inner teaching voice.
Before entering your classroom, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a powerful adult who will be obeyed. Do this every day until it is an automatic reflex. You must believe this and convey this in every fiber of your being or else the students won’t believe you, and feeling insecure that the adult is not in charge, they will act up and vy for your authority. Read my blog about this here.
Show that you deserve to be obeyed by over preparing for your class.(You work hard for them and they work hard for you.) First, buy a remote presentation device or remote mouse so you can stand behind the most challenging students as you run your class. Create a daily tech guide with a slide for each routine and activity. It subliminally signals the students that they have a lot to do and better get to it! Click here to watch my videos on what goes into the template so that you can make one every day.
In my opinion, I have seen a big change in the way adults interact with children in the United States since entering the classroom 30+ years ago. Many parents no longer tell their children what to do with the expectation of being obeyed, rather they cajole and nudge their children to do what the adults want them to do. This impacts my classroom management as students are accustomed to their defiant behavior being acceptable. Instead of my telling them to sit down, take out the homework, take out the computers, etc., I use musical videos for the transitions. They need to be seated before the class countdown ends in the video. I’m not telling them what to do, the video is telling them in Spanish. When they hear the “bumbumbum” of many of the videos, they wonder what the next activity is rather than reacting to my directives. I don’t know why these indirect commands work so well – but they do! Preview the videos here.
Be leary of starting with external rewards for doing the right thing. They grow old quickly and then you have to up the ante and may become a hostage to their demands for rewards or else they won’t do anything. Some teachers can work this really well, and I have done it in the past with super challenging classes. But if you work on your authority pose, over prepare with a daily tech guide and use target language videos for directives, you most likely won’t need them. External rewards signal that basic behavior is not expected without a reward. Don’t fall for that trap.
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