Top Tips for Dealing with Large EFL Classes
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Top Tips for Dealing with Large EFL Classes. Picture this: you’re teaching a Polish university student Academic English. You’re both seated at a table in the library, sharing a book between the two of you. You talk quietly together and work at the pace set by the student. When he gets a bit distracted, you take a break for a coffee before getting back to work.
Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?
This is a scene from a 1-to-1 class. Classes like these certainly do happen and when they do they are a joy.
Now picture this: you’re teaching a class of 45 16-year olds in Shanghai. They are sitting in nine rows of five desks while you stand at the front of the class at the interactive whiteboard. You have a microphone but you’re not convinced the students at the back can hear you. Most of the time they definitely act like they can’t. Some students in the back are chatting happily away to each other while the students in the first few rows are listening to you intently. Handing out worksheets is a pain because it’s difficult to walk all around the classroom and you have learnt to organize activities according to the seating arrangement.
This is a scene from an EFL classroom. It might be in Shanghai but it could be anywhere in the world. This might sound disastrous but it’s actually a very common classroom situation. What do you do if you find yourself teaching in a classroom like this? Give up and count down the minutes until the lesson ends?
Of course not! You’re stronger than that!
But, just in case, here are a few tips to help you when dealing with large classes:
Learn their names
This may seem daunting but it can make such a big difference to your relationship with your students. Making an effort to learn all your students’ names will show them that you care about them individually even if there are lots of them in the class. It’ll also help with organizing classroom activities and discipline.
Top tip: when you first meet a big class, make a seating plan with their names. Students tend to sit in the same places and if you refer back to your plan during your first few lessons and use their names whenever possible, you will soon remember them.
Organise your classroom
In classes with so many students, you’re bound to have students of different levels in the same class. Arrange the seating plan of the class wisely, choosing either to seat students of similar levels together or to group stronger students with weaker students.
Top tip: don’t be shy to move students around if the setup is not working for you. You might find some students are disruptive when sitting together while others work really well together. Mix and match until you find a seating plan that works for you.
Try to make use of the classroom as is. If your classroom doesn’t lend itself to an open mingle, then don’t try it. Instead of trying to herd cats, rather tweak an activity so that it works for you.
Top tip: accept the fact that with large classes your students might be seated more than you would like. Use activities which involve pairwork and pair up students with the person sitting next to, behind or in front of them.
Involve your students
Dealing with so many students can be physically draining. Handing out worksheets to 50+ students can be time-consuming and awkward, depending on the layout of the classroom. Utilise your students by allocating tasks to students from each row – for example, to hand out worksheets, collect homework or arrange groups.
Top tip: Be specific when assigning tasks. Make sure the students in question know exactly what they need to do. Make sure you don’t always call on the same students to help out.
Give your students more responsibility
Your students can be assets not only when it comes to classroom organization. Marking can be a real pain if you have more than thirty students, but if you can get your students involved it will save you a lot of time and many headaches.
Top tip: make good use of your interactive whiteboard to display answers to worksheets or exercises. Having the answers visible will save a lot of questions from the students.
Having a big EFL classroom might not be the ideal situation but it doesn’t have to be disastrous. Bear these tips in mind and you’ll soon get the hang of dealing with so many expectant faces staring back at you.
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LAST UPDATED: 6th June 2022
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Personal information is no longer needed by Everything TEFL Ltd but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
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In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that Everything TEFL Ltd securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to Everything TEFL Ltd collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think Everything TEFL Ltd has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the Everything TEFL Ltd processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.