Top Ten Tips for Large Classes:
1) Build a relationship with your students.
a. Find ways to learn the names of your students.
i. Have students make name cards, drawings, words, descriptions, meanings, or stories about their names. For example:
1. Picture Names: Have students draw a picture to represent their names. “Lucia” means light, so the student could draw a picture of the sun with each letter of her name representing a sun ray.
b. Get to know students and have them know each other, to build a sense of community in the classroom.
i. Create conversations and social time to learn about likes and dislikes, hobbies, background, etc. For example:
1. Find Someone Who: This is an activity which requires students to ask questions to other students to find out information about each other. Questions can be adapted to different levels or grammar structures, and can be individualized to your students.
2) Develop routines for your classroom.
a. Train your students to follow procedures or routines in your class, to make regular activities easier to conduct, such as a warm-up exercise, handing out or collecting papers, taking attendance, or writing down homework assignments. For example:
i. At the start of every class, have a question on the board for students to answer. As students arrive, they sit down, take out pen and paper, and begin to write a response to the question. By the time they finish, all students have arrived, settled down, started thinking, and should be ready to begin the lesson.
3) Give students responsibility in the classroom, and responsibility for their learning.
a. Make students responsible for routine tasks in class, lesson activities, and for meeting your expectations. Students are capable of taking attendance, handing out or collecting papers and materials, dividing themselves into groups or pairs. They can also take on roles in group activities, and meet expectations to help them learn. For example:
i. In a group activity, the teacher gives each student a role, such as: writer, speaker, timekeeper, taskmaster, artist, or runner (to collect or hand in work). The teacher can focus on assisting or monitoring, while the students take charge of the activity themselves.
4) Develop a set of rules for your classroom, and have students participate in the process.
a. Students can help define classroom rules that promote respect and a good learning environment. If they help make the rules, they are more likely to follow them.
b. Make sure there are fair consequences for breaking the rules, and that all students agree on them. If students participate in the process, they will help with classroom management also.
5) Movement is important in a classroom, for both the teacher and the students.
a. Find ways to move around if there is space to do so. For the teacher, this allows for better monitoring, attention to students in different parts of the room, and a different point of view for the students.
b. Find ways to allow your students to move, with or without space. Create activities that ask the students to stand up, raise their arms, turn around, or get up and walk. This will help keep them interested and active, and will help with different learning styles.
6) Try to add variety to your lessons.
a. While routines are good for learning, so is variety. You could change the way you present your lesson, add color to your presentation, put up a picture in class, move seats, or do a different activity. For example:
i. Start class by playing music.
ii. Present your PowerPoint in all different colors.
iii. Stand at the back of the room while you present the lesson.
iv. Have students throw a ball (or light object) every time they answer a question.
v. Stop in the middle of class and have students stand up, turn around in a circle, and sit down again.
7) Use signals to get students’ attention or to change tasks in class.
a. Train students to respond to your signals, to stop working, be quiet, or pay attention to you. You could clap your hands, flicker the lights, wave arms in the air, or hold up an object. For example:
i. The teacher stands at the front of class and claps in a pattern. The students mimic the pattern. If not all students have responded, the teacher claps again, and the students respond by mimicking the pattern again. This requires little effort on the part of the teacher, but an active, physical response from the students. It’s a game to the students, but effective for classroom management.
8) Use rubrics for marking papers and setting standards for student work.
a. Develop standard rubrics for student work, such as essays, projects, presentations, tests, or other assignments.
b. Train students to use rubrics, so they understand the expectations for each assignment, and so they can begin to use rubrics for peer editing.
c. (For more information about rubrics, see the websites posted on the Ning.)
9) Use a teacher’s notebook for monitoring and keeping notes for grading.
a. Use a notebook or sheet of paper each day or week to take notes about individual students (or groups), regarding class participation, homework, or other tasks. This information will be helpful in giving students a more complete grade, rather than one based solely on written assignments that the teacher marks.
b. Set the notebook up with a seating chart or diagram of the room (to see where students are seated), or by attendance or names.
c. This can also help learn students’ names early in the year, and get to know your students as the year goes on.
10) Address classroom management or behavior issues with PEP: Proximity, Eye Contact, Personal Touch.
a. Proximity: Moving closer to students allows the teacher to continue the lesson without interruption, while giving the student a little extra attention.
b. Eye Contact: Making eye contact with students shows that the teacher is focusing on them and paying individual attention. The students recognize that they are not just faces in a crowd.
c. Personal Touch: By adding a “personal touch”, whether it’s calling out a student’s name in the lesson or tapping a student on the shoulder, the teacher can call the student’s attention back to the lesson without further interruption. Students like to hear their names, and like to feel noticed by the teacher.