- Plan what you are going to do in advance step by step and have clear aims so you and your pupils know exactly where you are going throughout a lesson. This is the only way you will be able to control up to 30 children in one class – and they will be the first to know if you haven’t prepared and respond by becoming disruptive.
- Start your year by being firm and be consistent in your own actions and behaviour – children expect a disciplined, structured classroom environment and respond well to routines. Check with the class teacher what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and make it clear to the pupils that you expect the same behaviour.
- Learn your pupils’ names and address them directly.
- Be mobile and walk round the class.
- Have a clear signal for stopping activities or when you want children to be quiet. Get silence and wait for their full attention before you start speaking and give clear instructions or demonstrations. Make sure children understand what they have to do.
- Never underestimate children’s abilities or intelligence. They may have very limited English but they still have the same interests and aspirations as any other child of their age. Keep them interested by providing stimulating content and meaningful activities.
- Always ensure that children have some English ‘to take away’ with them at the end of a lesson. Children will feel proud and have a sense of achievement if they leave the classroom being able to ask, for example, a new question in English, say something about themselves, or sing a song. This means (see the first point above) that your aims will be clear to the children.
- Avoid activities that over-excite – it is often difficult to return to a calm and controlled learning environment after a noisy game. Avoid activities that require a lot of movement as you will find that there is often very little space in a classroom for this type of activity. Also avoid activities that require a lot of cutting and pasting unless there is a clear linguistic outcome, as these can cut into valuable time, apart from creating a great deal of mess.
- Make positive comments about the children’s work and efforts and let them see that you value their work.
- Have additional material prepared to cope with faster and slower pupils’ needs and don’t let activities go on too long.