Wherever you may be teaching in the world, for effective learning to take place within any classroom, both students and teachers play a vital role in the learning process. Students and teachers both need to adhere to their necessary roles in order for lessons to run smoothly. You as an English teacher will need to play your part well during your time teaching abroad! While students do have responsibilities themselves, it is your duty as a teacher to compensate for any shortcomings that your students may display in class. After all, it is up to teachers to set a good example for students as to how to face and handle one’s personal responsibilities.
Teachers should ensure that they have a clear objective in mind when teaching English as this will ensure that their classes will follow a healthy progression, both in terms of academics as well as running enjoyable and effective classes. Lessons should display a balance between following formal academic content with additional activities, games, or “breathers” spread throughout. This means that lessons are not overly focussed in one direction and students receive the best overall lesson. This is especially true with younger students who generally have a shorter attention span and require classes to flow smoothly in order for their distractions to be kept to a minimum.
When starting a new class with a new group of students, find out what topics and themes your students enjoy and relate to. It is also wise to find out what they are interested in outside of an academic setting e.g., celebrities, sports teams, movies, etc. This can be done at your discretion – in the form of a class discussion or as a worksheet-based activity.
This will give you a thorough idea as to what a certain group of students like and dislike, and in turn will assist you with planning lessons (or throwing in some backup activities) that generate a lot of enjoyment and enthusiasm for your students.
Classroom management is different for every teacher based on their personality type, class type, and their personal preferences. However, regardless of how these might differ from teacher to teacher, you should always aim to adjust your classroom management techniques depending on what works well for a specific class. This will ensure that you can keep things flowing in a manner that suits a specific group of students, and won’t implement techniques that might not work well in a particular class or scenario.
Students need to be praised and encouraged in order to build up motivation and personal satisfaction during their language learning journey. However, keep a healthy balance between what you require of them and the praise you give them. Too little praise results in students not knowing if they are making good progress (and could result in a lack of motivation to keep learning). Too much motivation could result in students not caring about working towards the praise of the teacher (as praise and rewards lose their novelty and enchantment if given out too excessively/frequently).
As previously mentioned, it will benefit you to find out what your students like and dislike, and this will also give you a good idea as to what motivates your students. Depending on the age group, some students might be encouraged to learn and perform well in class in order to receive a sticker or prize (extrinsically motivated), while others may be encouraged by reaching their personal goals when learning the English language (intrinsically motivated).
Always do your best to not only encourage your students but to channel your encouragement in the direction of their language learning goals and ambitions.