At this time of year half my emails are full of praise and wonderful stories (thank you!) and the other half are full of tales of unresponsive older kids, inattentive younger kids and every discipline problem in between.
Invariably one group is using Genki English and one isn’t (I’ll let you decide which!)
But whichever group you fall into, you always need a two pronged approach to teaching:
Amazing material *and* strong, clear discipline.
Of course we’re not talking canes and beatings, we’re talking about good solid teaching techniques that let the kids know what is expected and where the limits are, all in a loving, caring, respectful & inspiring atmosphere.
I always follow the rules I learnt in Tae Kwon Do, and they have always served me well:
Courtesy. Integrity. Perseverance. Self Control. Indomitable spirit
And as I’ve been having so many emails, I figured I’d recap here some of my best classroom discipline techniques.
These “Top 3” are a must for *every* class whatever their age:
1. The Agreement – without a doubt the most important technique you’ll ever use, you need it in every course.
2. The Bad Kids at the Back – using the “proximity effect” to cure those rabblers on the back row!
3. How to get a class of perfect angels! – this simple exercise will change your whole teaching.
Plus here are techniques for more specific situations:
4. The helper! – if you just have one or two crazy kids in class.
5. Robots, cakes, cops & robbers – how to get (usually younger ones this time) kids more involved in class
6. Shutting a game down in the middle – useful if you forget one of the rules of a game and chaos ensues.
7. Zig Ziglar’s discipline advice – “you got to inspect to get what you expect”
8. Power Teaching – a lot of great techniques that a lot of teachers (myself included!) have found really useful.
9. “Angel Wings” – this one is a little kooky but it certainly works, and brings a smile to your face. 🙂
10. Genki English Book Club Recommendation: Life Ki-Do – a treasure trove of empowering discipline techniques.
12. The Agreement – I’m putting it in again as it really is that important!
One more tip for teenagers:
Learnt from Jamie Oliver “Always keep teenagers busy.”
“The Devil finds work for idle hands” is certainly a truism and there is a reason Japanese and Korean kids aren’t hanging out on street corners – they don’t have time! So keep teenagers busy.
And one more tip in general:
Never be afraid to fire a student.
Even with all the best intentions, some students will just simply never work out in your school. In that case don’t worry about letting them go. It’s much fairer to let them find a new path elsewhere rather than the keep them suffering in class, disrupting others and giving you super stress. You, and they, deserve a (as far as we can!) stress free work environment. We have to reach as many kids as we can, but we can never reach them all. Help the ones you can.
OK, I think that covers just about everything.
Remember it takes time to learn these techniques, and some kids will always push you.
But however student centered we make the learning, the actual responsibility of the class is yours. You are the boss, not them.
So read through everything here and try everything out.
Genki English Rule No. 2 is “If you lose, just try again!” and it works just as much for us as it does for the kids.
And at the end of the day do make sure you are teaching a fantastic course that *really* helps the kids *and* makes things fun for them.
There is a reason we’ve spent so many years building and building Genki English.
Discipline techniques can make an amazing class shine, but it can’t patch up a sinking ship. So really evaluate every part of every lesson, every learning outcome you are wanting to achieve and every game, song, idea & technique you are planning to use to truly make your lessons world class and be the very, very best for your kids.
Because however bad some kids may seem, they all deserve the best.
So be strong, have fun, earn respect and let the kids know that everything you do is for them.
And I’ll leave you with just one last line:
A heart of gold illuminates the world, but on the inside is as hard as nails!
P.S. For VIP Members, you can now download all my Ninja Discipline Tips in this super convenient pdf.