It is really important when you are teaching kids to take control of the classroom. This isn’t some over-authoritarian, strict or domineering thing. You don’t need to be stern and serious with them. But, YOU should be the focus of their attention, and keep the class moving.
With groups of kids it is all too easy for a few to start running around, and pretty soon they aren’t listening to anything you say. Next thing you know, it’s Climb On Sensei Game or Throw Fruit Maracas At Sensei’s Privates Game, and the lesson is DONE.
We don’t want that to happen, do we?
What you have to do is take control and keep it throughout the lesson. Here are some ways to do this:
-First off, always let them know that “Now we are starting the lesson.” You can do this a variety of ways. Music and songs are good for little kids. You might do some kind of mini-game that’s fun for them and gets their attention, or a simple warm up routine.
The important thing is to have a routine. At first, the kids may not know what it means, but they need a routine, so they know when class is starting.
-Throughout the lesson, keep an eye on the kids. Monitor them, and watch for signs that you might be losing them. Kids have tiny little attention spans and you have to know the warning signs when they’re starting to drift away.
When the kids start drifting off, you have to pull them back. You might change to another activity. It might be good to change position, or get them on their feet.
It’s good to have a repertoire of fillers and songs for when this happens. Another thing you can do is to pull the kid back by including them in whatever’s going on, like by singing a funny song with their name or something.
-One thing that works well is counting down “3, 2, 1.” You never have to actually DO anything when you get to one, just the counting down works like magic to get them where you want them to go.
The first time, you might try this: When things are going well, when the kids are laughing and having the most fun, suddenly stand up and count down, “3, 2, 1.” As you count down, walk to another part of the room.
It’s like magic! It’s like Pavlov’s dogs! They’ll be right behind you and they’ll be ready for whatever you’re going to do next!
At first, do it slowly. Then, once you establish this routine, you can always count down quickly and strongly. Do this when things get out of hand, and the kids will fall right into line.
Once you get a routine and you see how the kids follow it, you’ll be amazed at what you can do.
The important thing to remember is that you should keep the kids’ attention. Kids live for one thing: FUN. And, if you don’t give them the fun they need, they’ll look somewhere else for it!