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controlling 3/4 year olds enough to teach them! 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:07 am
Posts: 4
Location: Japan
Post controlling 3/4 year olds enough to teach them!
Any ideas on how to control a class of 3 children (between 3 and 4) enough to teach them English? It seems that there's always one who is running out of the classroom, climbing on the tables, annoying another child or speaking their native language alot and managing to distract the others.

Last week I found that counting to 3 and touching each child lightly on the head as they stopped what they were doing and stood in front of me got their attention back to me but it wore out by the end of class! I know that they're young but I was so very frustrated today. I don't expect them to be perfect but they can't all do something different at one time.

Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:23 am

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:33 am
Posts: 289
Location: Niigata
Eye, hand and body coordinating activities mixed into one has worked wonders for me in the past. I worked in a preschool for three years used to teach 3-6 yr olds for an hour straight using something similar to this:

'Sharing a little, gaining a lot'

Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:25 am

Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 12:58 am
Posts: 42
Last year I had 4 groups of 12 students of 4 years old. I understand what you are feeling now. Somedays it was really stressful.
One of the things that was really useful was to do body responses activities: things like "stand up", "sit down", "jump"... the kids did it and I always acted like if I wanted to cheat on them. IF someone did it wrong I said "I got you!" and it was funny.
Another way was using shorts songs. The first time we had to listen to them, the second I sang them, the 3rd they had to try to sing it and the 4th was for them to dance.
And stories are really good, but using a lot of pictures so they can follow it.
When a kid did not want to stay quiet in class I made him/her sit outside the classroom, in front of the room with the door open, so I could control the kid and the kid could see how much fun the others were having. This way, the wanted to come in again and participate correctly.
I hope this helps you.

Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:02 pm

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:07 am
Posts: 4
Location: Japan
i tried the simple commands (sit down, stand up etc) last week and it worked for a short time. The vocab i was trying to teach them this week was things like down, up, turn around, run which I got the children to do. I thought that it would go really well because it gave them a chance to be active but they would turn around with their arms out and hit each other, or just do what action they liked best like jumping. I hate that one of the mums often looks in at the class - I feel like I'm being judged (which I guess I am) and I don't want to look like I can't control just 3 kids. Maybe next week I will have more luck with the same stuff!

Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:19 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
I have success with throwing balls arounfd to the students. I can juggle and that helps get their attention but I don't think that's necessary. Anyway, just toss a ball out and ask for it back. Everyone wants the ball. toss the ball to the other side of the room and ask one of them to get it.

Once you have them engaged, toss a ball out, ask your question, then ask for the ball back.

The idea is the children are involved. They are focused on what you are doing and saying. They're waiting for their turn. They're listening.

You can't always be throwing a ball around but things like that keep the kids paying attention. When is he going to start throwing balls? When is he going to fall down and flop on the floor with us? When is he going to do something I don't want to miss?

With younger kids you have to engage them. Some might say entertain them, but they'd be wrong, IMO. Don't entertain them, engage them.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:20 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
So much depends on when you teach them and how happy, tired, irritable etc they may be. My wife teaches this age group and she usually keeps things busy using lots of songs and action activities.
Always remember that young kids are young kids and some are naturally impulsive. Persist with them and they come around.

Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:47 am

Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:16 am
Posts: 181
Location: Brazil
Get together with a preschool/nursury teacher in your area and observe how she handles the class. You can pick-up some basic class management skills. Also, with this age, your lessons are going to be more along the lines of playing with them while using english. They will pick up some things, but not necessarily the exact thing you are expecting.

Some ideas

Routine, routine, routine.... okay... routine

Music, music, music ... in keeping with the routine

Make believe.... I'm a bird... I'm fishing... I'm happy/sad...

Send them home with something... (this is both for the kids and the parents... parents want their kids to speak English much faster and much more than is reasonable)

Mister Young's English Class
Minas Gerais, Brasil

Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:27 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:29 pm
Posts: 5
use games music etc

Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:54 pm

Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 33
Location: spain
Post teaching very young learners
Establishing a ROUTINE is very important. It turns easier to take classroom's control when there's a routine and pupils have a clear idea of what is expected from them in every moment. They also feel more secure since they all know what is going to be worked. You can start every session with these routines (this is an example): to form a train to sit down, to sing a very short song, to introduce the topic you want and end up with another song. You should do it every day, the train, the start song and the end song. Then, you could change the routines every term. Take into account that their attention capability at this age is very short, so you can not spend much time explaining. They must change activity every five-ten minutes.
I hope this helps you.

Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:32 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:55 am
Posts: 61
Location: Poland
My routine (time of course is more or less precise, lol):
5 minutes - (stting )resenting the new language and revising the old one(BIG BIG, COLOURFUL props that children can touch and manipulate PLUS your body language, be an actor , keep surprising them)
5 minutes- ( sitting) games/activities to practise the target language
5 minutes- (stand up) physical activities, LOL
2-3 minutes- singing the song (sitting or standing, depending on the song)
5-10 minutes - ( sitting) some crafts, colouring etc, something they take home with them

then repeat the routine until you can see that they are no longer able to follow, ;) That is usually a 30-45 minute long lesson
Be flexible, whenever you see they are tired, change the activity and ALWAYS have some extra emergency stuff
Have a written lesson plan, which you should try to follow. Then at home you can see clearly what went well and what went bad, and then rethink your plan
You really need to be well prepared, spontanious teaching is ok but within frames. The children, though not consciously, can see whether you know what you are doing.
The first year is the worst :roll:

Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:43 pm
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