One of the most popular questions in the surveys is always about discipline and how to keep kids under control.
And contrary to what people often think, a fun class is usually the most disciplined. (Otherwise it would just descend into chaos!)
Luckily there are a few simple “ninja tactics” to make even the toughest class at least a little easier to handle.
So let’s start with the first (and my favourite) : Proximity!
(A Genki English demo class with 600 kids – easy with these tricks!)
Let’s imagine a traditional classroom set up.
The teacher is at the front with the computer.
The good kids sit down in the first row.
(They are rarely a problem so that’s cool.)
But where do the “bad” kids sit?
Yep, that’s right…
…on the back row!
But the question is…..
Are the comfiest seats there?
Do they have free gummy bears on tap?
Nope, it’s simply because that’s the furthest they can possibly be from the teacher.
Kids instinctively know that the further away from the teacher they are, the more they can get away with!
So what’s the solution?
Simple, just move nearer to them!
And that’s the basis for the proximity technique.
It sounds just too simple doesn’t it?
And that’s why most teachers don’t use it.
They resort to shouting at the kids.
Sometimes even throwing things.
All whilst stood firmly at the front of the class!
Now think about the best teachers you know.
Where do they stand?
Are they always at the front?
No, very often they’re always moving around.
They slowly move up and down the rows as they talk.
They sometimes explain something at the back of the class.
Then explain the next at the front.
The kids never know where they’ll go next so they’re always on best behaviour.
Just like mixing a fruity birthday cake, you’ve got to keep the motion going so nothing turns sticky and stale!
Sometimes a kid will get a little out of line.
So what does the good teacher do?
They simply move closer and stand by the kids’ desk.
There’s no eye contact, no harsh words, everything just continues as before.
The teacher never misses their story, they just keep going on like before.
When the student has calmed down they simply walk away to somewhere else in the room.
They never need to resort to any negative punishments.
It’s all done with proximity – how close they physically are to the students.
(One other beauty of this is that the “bad” kids often clump together so you can get several of them in one go!)
So the next time you find the kids at the back are too chatty or not paying attention,
Just slowly start moving around the class, gradually stopping by their desks as you talk.
In the vast majority of classes it will make all the difference.
And of course, as with all Genki English techniques, only use it on the classes you want to make better!
If you like this please feel free to share, link to, like it or make a comment.
If it’s popular enough I’ll see if I can share my other top discipline tips with you!
P.S. If you are reading this on email, if you have a look at the online version there are more discipline tips and videos at the end of this post!