12 Tips to Control a Large Class.


It’s difficult to control a large class which includes different abilities and speeds of learning. It’s not easy to give each student the attention he needs. In addition, students may not have the textbooks to write on, so they have the chance to make noise. The following 12 tips will help you to overcome the previous challenges and achieve a satisfied level of control on your large class so that your teaching will be effective.

  1. State a system for everything, e.g. speaking, turn taking, respect of others, test taking, answering questions, …… etc.
  2. Achieve an agreement with the students from the first beginning. Focus on praising frequently those who are committing to their promises.
  3. Be firm but warm. Use strict words but preserve the dignity of students and don’t humiliate them.
  4. Pursue the main source of disciplinary problems not symptoms and think and use various alternatives to solve them.
  5. Get used to call your students with their first and second names.
  6. Increase the amount of interaction activities during each lesson.
  7. Use pair-work or small group-work technique when doing the exercises considering the variation in ability levels.
  8. Use audio-visual aids to attract students’ attention and facilitate learning.
  9. Don’t bury yourself in the textbook or the preparation notes but always eye contact with students.
  10. Don’t plant your feet firmly in one place for the whole lesson but always move around the class.
  11. Dress appropriately and use effective facial and hand gestures.
  12. Arrange the chairs, organize the board, free the class from external noises, speak up to be heard and show yourself to all the students in the classroom.

Five ways to pair or group your students

pair or group work

1. Decide who you want to work together and tell individual students their partners.
2. Gesture with your hands to students who sit beside or near each other to work together.
3. Divide students according to their birthdays, height or any other criteria.
4. Give each student a card with a word or letter or phrase and ask students to find their partners by connection of the cards.
5. Give each student a number and ask who have same numbers to sit together. You can do that with letters or words. This is a nice warm-up for the start of the lesson.

Eight advantages for students to work in pairs or groups in the classroom


Students benefit from working in pairs in the classroom by:
1. having the opportunity to speak to each other in English. This maximizes their talking time and minimizes the teacher’s talking.
2. interacting socially using the language so that the stronger student can help the weaker.
3. brainstorming more ideas and practicing more language.
4. building up their rapport and independence
5. focusing more when learning the language while the teacher is just monitoring their performance.
6. sharing opinions and experiences with each other.
7. personalizing the lesson and adapting its content to their needs.
8. feeling safer when participating in discussion especially shy students.

Six Principles to Communicate Best with Students


As teaching should be a participative and interactive activity, there must be a kind of communication between teachers and their students. As a result, teachers should be well aware of the principles and techniques that help them be more effective communicators and get what they want from their communication with students. The main six of these principles are as follow:

1. Listening well with signals that prove attention and interest in what students say.

2. Using the voice well with variations of tone that send various responding messages to what students say or do.

3. Using suitable words to convey clear messages and instructions so that students know well what to do exactly.

4. Making the best use of body language to control the class and demonstrate attitudes towards students’ actions.

5. Communicating by eye contact to show interest or encourage students to correct their errors by themselves.

6. Considering the effects of physical environment on creating effective communication. Rearranging the furniture, opening a window, hanging some photos or pictures, sticking some wall sheets and many other similar things can make a big difference with our communication with students.

In fact, there are many other communication principles teachers should stick to while interacting with their students and it’s your turn to add one more below.

Remember that miscommunication between a teacher and his/her students is enough to hinder learning or prevent achieving teaching objectives.

Giving classroom instructions in English

Pupils can understand classroom instructions in English:

# If you use English in classroom instructions, it gives your pupils a good chance to develop their listening skills in a context as English is used for real communication.

# It is true that some pupils may not be able to understand all the words when instructions are given in English at first but this is a similar situation to what happens when young children learn their own first language. If parents support children’s understanding, children usually understand the meaning, even if they don’t understand all the words.

# So do you, you can also help your pupils to understand your instructions in English by:

1- giving them clearly,

2- supporting them,

3- checking your pupils’ understanding of them.

 How to give clear classroom instructions:

* Firstly, make sure you get everyone’s attention. Wait until everyone is looking at you.

* Speak clearly, but not too slowly.

* Try to use sentences which are not too long.

* You can write instructions on a piece of paper to help you if necessary, but make sure you keep eye contact with the pupils.

How to support classroom instructions:

* You can help pupils to understand by supporting your instructions with gestures, facial expressions, your hands, and intonation.

* You can also use pictures or real objects sometimes.

* You can also write key instructions on the blackboard if this helps.

4. How to check your pupils’ understanding of classroom instructions:

* Don’t ask ‘Do you understand?’ pupils may think they have understood when they have not, or may say just ‘yes’ to please you.

* One alternative is to ask pupils to explain in their native language what they have to do. This is a clear and economical way for you to see if pupils have really understood.

* As pupils’ English develops, you can ask them some questions in English to check understanding:

( e.g. will you work in twos or fours? Will you speak or write? Have you got five or ten minutes for this activity? ….. etc )

How can You deal with a mixed level class?

What is a mixed level class?

A class with different pupils in one or some of the following:

  • amount of time learning English
  • level of English in the class
  • motivation to study English
  • amount of support from parents
  • background (city or countryside)
  • age
  • gender (boys and girls)

 What difficulties can there be with mixed level classes? Some of these are:

  • Helping everyone to learn: how to help all levels learn
  • Keeping everyone’s attention
  • Getting everyone to take part
  • Lesson speed; may be too quick for some, too slow for others
  • Activities may be too easy for some too hard for others
  • Materials: may be interesting for some, boring for others
  • Assessment

How can You deal with these different needs? Think about the following:

  • Use open-ended activities: these can work well because children with different levels of language can do them.
  • Ask different-level questions: ask easier questions to those with less English, and harder questions to those with more English.
  • Correct only serious mistakes: be more tolerant of mistakes made by children with less English. Correct only their serious mistakes.
  • Give extra activities: have extra activities ready for children who finish an activity quickly. These activities might include new vocabulary to learn, pictures to talk about, or simple language games to play.  
  • Use pair and group work: sometimes children of different levels can help each other to learn when they work in pairs or groups.
  • Set flexible targets: give different targets to different children or groups for some activities. For example, you might ask one pair to write three sentences of more about their families, and a higher level pair to write five sentences or more.
  • Use a remember and tell strategy: After some activities, ask children to close their books and remember answers, questions, words or sentences from the activity, and tell each other in pairs or groups. Success depends less on language knowledge and more on cooperation.

8 Steps to Get & Keep your Students’ Attention

1- Use a signal for Zero noise. e.g. if I clap once, I want you all keep silent.

2- Come closer to two students chatting and surprise them.

3- Give clear instructions for each activity telling students what to do exactly and checking that they understand the task.

4- Attract students’ attention when you make transitions during the lesson.

5- Monitor the entire room.

6- Change activity when you feel that they are bored.

7- Check your students’ comprehension frequently.

8- Keep silent for some moments until students pay full attention.