Managing TEFL/ESOL Student Behaviour In A New Class

Written by: Larry Walder



Time to read 2 min

Starting a course with a new group of TEFL/ESOL students can be daunting for all teachers of English as a Foreign or Second language, especially those new to the profession. The students are bound to be curious about meeting a new teacher and may well be anxious themselves. But they come to the lesson expecting the teacher to take charge and be in control. They probably have no idea that you are as nervous (or more so) as they are!

You will have studied the coursework your students have to cover while in your class. There may have been some linguistic issues, and some areas of grammar or vocabulary that you had to brush up on. You want to make sure the students are confident in your knowledge of English and your ability to teach.

You are no doubt looking forward to getting to know the students, to finding out what they are like and getting a sense of how you will work together with them. You might have received some pre-course information about the level of the class and their previous experience within the school or institute you are working in. The names of certain characters within the class might have been passed on to you for good or bad reasons. Or you might be going in relatively cold. In any case, you want to create a positive first impression with your new class.

Most of us are confident about the course materials we have to teach. We are native English speakers teaching our own language. We may have years of experience and a Delta or equivalent degree behind us. Or we might be coming fresh from a TEFL course. In any case, we are teaching a language we have been using fluently for most of our lives. The contents of what we have to teach are probably not our main worry. Our concerns are more likely to revolve around issues of classroom management.

We want the students to like us, but we don’t want them to walk all over us. We need to be in control of the classroom in order to get the coursework done and for the learners to benefit from all that we can teach them. We have all been there!

In this article, we have compiled advice based on the real classroom experience of TEFL and ESOL teachers. Moreover, we have attempted to present some strategies and activities that are easy to implement and have been tested in real English Language Classrooms.

We will look at;

  • How to create a positive first impression.

  • How to set up your classroom.

  • Working with other members of staff.

  • Establishing and maintaining classroom rules.

  • Using the existing rules and structures of the school.

  • Remembering names.

  • Giving students roles and responsibilities.

  • Ways of maintaining control without using your voice.

  • The use of L1

  • Strategies for maintaining discipline

  • Making smart interventions

  • Practical classroom management tips and activities

The full article is available to download for free below. If you have any further suggestions for effective classroom management techniques or any experiences you would like to share please do share them in the comments.