It can be difficult to manage a classroom of children, even if they are only three !
Here is a question from a teacher on managing her classroom of mixed ages – not an easy task…

QUESTION

“In one class I have  8 children. 6 of age 5 and  2 of  age 3.
The 3 years old are distracting the rest of the class, meaning they scream, throw the animals toys around the class ,turn over the small chairs etc etc.  I was running after them trying to involve them in  the game activities.

Yesterday I  was exhausted at the end of the lesson.
I gave the 5 years old animals coloring page and told them to cut and glue it at the board.
Then I took the two 3 years old and I played, or rather tried to play on the floor with the animals.
They started screaming, running and bothering the others 

Any suggestions on how to handle  them and the lesson?”

ANSWER

To manage this classroom well you cannot abandon the majority of the class to colouring.

As you have the majority of the class aged five and only two 3 year olds I would do the opposite of what you are doing currently.  That is to say instead of abandoning the five year olds to colouring, where they won’t be learning English and devoting yourself to the two brats (!) I would ignore the brats and focus on teaching the five year olds.

The three year olds cannot learn at the same pace as the five year olds (unique exceptions aside).  If you go at the pace of the three year olds the five year olds will be bored out of their minds.  Focus on the older ones and let the three year olds absorb what they can as sponges.  Ideally you might even drop them from the class since they are a total nuisance.

You’ll have to crack down on those three year olds so that you can get on with giving a proper English lesson to the others.  If you don’t eventually the parents will notice that no-one is learning anything !  Everyone loses with the current set up:
1. Five year olds are not learning and will be dissatisfied
2. Three year olds are being rewarded with your full attention for behaving badly
3. You are exhausted
4. Parents will be dissatisfied with the results

So you have to change things radically and I would do it by:

1. Drop the three year olds from the class if you can, they are a nuisance in this context.
2. Tell them off if they scream and throw things, let them play QUIETLY in the room while you are teaching.  From time to time encourage them to join in but give them easy tasks, things they know, things you know they can do.  They will absorb the English slowly and it’s still good for them to be in the room hearing English spoken around them.

Classroom management is as vital as the subject being taught.  With an badly managed classroom no one can learn anything and the teachers gets exhausted.

For more classroom management tips please see these two articles:
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/Articles/Classroom_Management.htm
and
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/Articles/Classroom_Discipline.htm

All the best
Shelley

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