Published 7th June 2016


Last Updated on

We can all dream of our perfect EFL classroom but sadly it’s not often in life that we get what we wish for. In the teaching environment there can be so many things that can go wrong and yet, as teachers, we learn to deal with them and move on with the lesson. So, to help you out, here we have some suggestions for how to deal with the most common problematic EFL classroom situations. 

Big classes

In some teaching situations it can be quite normal to have classes of 40 or 50 students – or even bigger – while the dream class size is probably about 6 to 10. If you have a lot of students, give some serious thought to classroom management and what you can do to maximise individual participation.

If you have the space to move around, do activities in groups rather than in pairs or as a whole class. This will give your students more opportunity to speak and, as long you are able to effectively monitor all the groups, will prove a good solution.

If possible, making use of technology in the form of projected visuals or videos will help to maintain the whole class’s attention.

Difficult students

You never know if you’re going to hit the jackpot with your students and most of the time they’re awesome, but sometimes, just sometimes, you can find a few students in the class who just don’t want to be there and are not afraid to show it. These students can act out and cause other students to be disruptive as well.

With these students, there are a couple of things you can try. You could try talking to them (if they are old enough) or their parents (if they’re not) to find out if there is a real reason behind their disruptive behaviour; or you can consider whether or not they are bored or unchallenged in the class and find ways to overcome any of these issues.

No resources or faulty technology

Some days it will just seem like everything will go wrong – the projector doesn’t work, the CD is scratched, the internet connection is down – or maybe you’re in a situation where you don’t have the luxury of technological resources. In these cases, the best option is to go to old-school.

If you need to plan lessons with no resources, think of doing your lessons a la dogme. Keep your activities conversation-based and utilise the board effectively. If you need to think of something in an emergency, decide whether you can replicate the technology (voicing a dialogue, for example) or replace it with a whole different activity.

Things can go wrong in the EFL classroom and knowing how to deal with whatever situation the classroom will throw at you will make the difference between a great lesson and a catastrophe.