TESOL Class Management and Atmosphere


As language teachers, we should pay more attention to class management and atmosphere that affect students' learning, especially for children under the age of 10. Compared with adult learners, children are harder to focus on and easy to get dull on the lesson content, and they need more attention and caring from the instructor. Also, their lack of living experiences and school education contributing to different needs in the classroom. Therefore, to make younger learners have a comfortable learning environment and succeed in the language classroom, a language teacher can make an effort in class management and atmosphere to facilitate students' learning. There are a lot of ways that engage and support younger learners in an English language classroom. However, in this paper, I will only discuss five of TESOL: classroom seating arrangement, groupings, talk moves, body language, and visual aids.


First, the learner-learner interaction and learner-teacher interaction are the crucial elements that generate learning opportunities for students in classroom learning. A flexible seating arrangement is one of the methods that make such interactions happen in the classroom. Instead of arranging all students' desks facing the blackboard as traditional, the seating arrangement is better placed as a "horseshoe setup," making every student's face visible to the teacher and vice versa. Seating arrangements like "desk clusters" that look like islands on the sea also contribute to pair works and group works. Both of the two arrangements mentioned above make teachers walk freely in the classroom and provide opportunities for every student to receive support and guidance from teachers whenever they needed. Besides, flexible seating helps students get close to each other and reduce the distance between teacher and students no matter physically or psychologically. All these factors help create a harmonious and welcoming learning environment that makes children's learning more effective.

Second, cooperation has to be nurtured and learned, and both heterogeneous groupings and homogeneous groupings help cultivate cooperative learning. As Kegan mentioned about the PIES principle, cooperative learning helps build a positive interdependence in groups and highly value individual accountability. Also, distributing different roles to the group members (for example, timekeeper, facilitator, reporter, etc.) guarantees the equal participation of each student in the class. The group work also ensures simultaneous interaction. Moreover, the group works are especially suited for students from collective societies, such as China, Mexico, Turkey, etc. Since these countries highly value cohesiveness among individuals and prioritize group over the self.

Third, considering that younger language learners lack accumulation of vocabularies and various sentence structures in TESOLL2 compared to adult learners. Therefore, if teachers provide talk moves   like sentence starters for students, it will motivate students to participate in classroom activities and accelerating their learning. It is also a good idea that pasting a paper on each student's desk includes sentence starters like: In my opinion, …I agree with/ disagree with… I believe/think…. and so on, which students will frequently use in the classroom. In such a way, younger learners can easily refer to the paper and know how to start a conversation or answer questions by using these sentence frames.


The last two aspects are using body language and presenting visual aids in a classroom of all learners are children. Considering that children are more likely to lose their attention during class time and feel dull. Using body language is an effective way to attract students' attention and feel relaxed. For example, when teaching some vocabularies related to sports, the instructor can imitate how people who play certain sports perform. Such a way will help students understand different concepts while keeping fun during the learning process . Also, instructors can set some daily exercises as classroom routines controlled within 1~2 minutes that operate during the class time as a chill time, which will make students focus more on the lesson content in the following class time. Also, they will feel more relaxed both physically and mentally. Last but not least, instead of using long and complex text that to explain a new concept, a picture or a short video will be more intuitive. As Kumaravadivelu   mentioned in his work, a well-chosen visual aid will make the input more attractive and comprehensible, especially for younger learners.



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