Published 25th July 2017

When you are in the classroom the last thing you want to think about is classroom management. You’ve already spent so much time and energy planning the content of your lesson that you don’t even want to imagine that things won’t go according to plan.

But they never do.

Luckily for you (and your sanity) there are a few ways you can make sure you are always prepared to deal with unexpected classroom situations and so you know how to deal with them before they turn your lesson into a disaster.

1. Plan a few extra activities

The worst thing that can happen in a classroom (especially one full of Young Learners) is that you run out of activities but not out of time. If students are not focussed on classroom activities, they will become distracted, start talking to their friends or even become disruptive.

Besides planning the sequence of your lesson – as well as the transitions between activities – make sure you have a few ideas planned if you have a few extra minutes. These need not be brand new activities, but can rather be extensions of what has just be done in class. For example, if you were planning to give them a grammar exercise for homework, let them complete it during the lesson; if you have just learnt some new vocabulary, play a no-materials revision game.

2. Utilise groupwork

Maintaining control in a classroom full of students can be hard but it becomes much more manageable if that class is divided into smaller groups. Giving instructions, explaining problems, correcting work – it’s all less stressful with five students rather than twenty. Plus, doing work in groups allows the students to participate more.

As your class get to know you better, organising the class into groups should get easier. It ca be messy to divide a class into groups but if you have a system and the students understand that system, you’ll find that it won’t take too much time out of the lesson, so you can spend more time on the important stuff.

3. Change it up

Nobody likes to do the same thing every day or every week and there’s no reason your students are any different. Establishing a routine for certain procedures is definitely a good idea, but that doesn’t mean you need to do the same things every lesson.

Mix up the order of your lessons, change around the groups, do something unexpected and fun. Your students will stop dreading the lessons they don’t enjoy (Tuesdays mean reading!) and look forward to every lesson because they are never sure what could be in store for them. As an added bonus, it will help your boredom levels too!

You never know what to expect in the TEFL classroom and some days your lesson can seem on the brink of chaos for a variety of reasons. Don’t panic – consider these three strategies and you should be able to maintain a calm learning environment.