Teaching crowded classes is one of the most challenging problems a lot of teachers all over the world may face.
Here are some quick and initial solutions for teachers to teach and manage the crowded classes:
- Trying to make students feel important by addressing them with their names.
- Getting students to do as much interaction work as possible.
- Optimizing the use of pair-work and small group work, considering the variation in ability levels.
- Increasing the use of audio-visual aids, tapes, videos, pictures, films … etc.
- Using the peer-teaching approach.
- Dividing the class into small study groups and specify a student leader for each group.
Below, the main four solutions each teacher teaches a crowded class must do to manage this kind of class.
1. Dealing with Discipline Problems
Even if all of our students were hard-working, intrinsically motivated, active, dedicated, intelligent learners, teachers would still have discipline problems.
Teachers are advised to do the following:
- Gain the respect of your students by treating them all with equal fairness.
- State clearly and explicitly to your students what your expectations are regarding their behavior in class: speaking, turn-taking, respect for others, group work, pair work, individual work, test-taking, attendance, tardiness, absence policy, and homework.
- Try to achieve an agreement with your students, from the first week of the school year, to establish certain criteria for good behavior.
- Be firm but warm dealing with variances to these expectations.
- Do your best to preserve the dignity of your students; do not humiliate any student in front of classmates.
- Try to resolve disciplinary matters outside of class time, so that valuable class minutes are not spent focusing on one student.
- Try to find the source of the problem rather than treating symptoms.
- If you cannot resolve a recurring disciplinary problem, then consult the school counselor or administrator.
2. Using Teaching Aids
Using teaching aids helps the learning process and brings variety to a lesson. In addition, they save the teacher’s time and effort, particularly when teaching a crowded class.
Teachers are asked to use the following teaching aids effectively to be able to achieve successful classroom management:
The Course Cassette
This is an essential aid to the teachers. It contains a recording of dialogues, reading texts…. etc. in the Students’ Book by native speakers.
The teacher can play the cassette at home to familiarize himself with the sound of the language, to give him a good model of pronunciation for his students.
The teacher should play it in class to give a model for the dialogues or to expose his students to the longer reading passages. Students will then hear native speakers of English, with correct pronunciation, rhythm, stress, and intonation, and will also get used to hearing different voices speaking English.
Playing the cassette for the listening activities is obviously much better than reading the listening texts by the teacher as it attracts students’ attention.
When teachers use the cassette in the reading activities or read it aloud before students read the text, they are practicing listening, not reading.
Teachers can play the cassette, or read the passage aloud, only after students have done and checked the reading task.
The blackboard is a visual aid. What is written on the board helps to reinforce learning, so teachers ought to think carefully about what they write (the form of the new language, model sentences, etc.) and how they write it (the position on the board and a good model of handwriting). Quick drawings on the board are often a good way to show meaning.
Teachers must remember that what is written on the board will be before the students’ eyes for the rest of the lesson unless the teacher removes it, so he should try his best to keep it neat and clear.
A messy, confusing blackboard drives students crazy.
Flashcards, pictures, wall charts, real objects, maps and any other visual aids the teacher can prepare and bring to class will help to make the language more alive and the students more motivated and easily managed.
Pictures can be used for presenting the meaning of new words, for quick drills, for revision and for encouraging wider discussions. Word cards will give a variety of presenting the written form of the new language, to practice spelling and structures and in sequencing exercises.
Teachers can think of some ideas in advance, and encourage students to help in preparing or bringing some visual aids or real objects.
3. Using Gestures and Actions
The teacher, himself, is the best visual aid. His facial expressions and body language can convey a lot of meaning to students. Miming, or doing actions without words, is often a very effective way of managing the class showing meaning, and reducing the amount of explaining or “the teacher talk time”.
Gestures can also be used for quick prompts, for example: for keeping silent, coming to the front, stand up or sit down, referring to a certain group, etc.
4. Using Projects
Sometimes the theme of a unit may motivate the students to research more deeply into it. The teacher should then suggest that they begin a project (oral or written) and ultimately present it to the class e.g. “Animals in the World “.
Projects bring together all the language skills in a purposeful way as well as acting as a stimulus to students. The work can be carried out individually, in pairs or small groups. Even if this kind of work may cause some noise, it is a healthy noise that can be easily managed.
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