Help, My Junior High Kids Are Dead!

UPDATE:  Check out the new Genki English x JHS Textbook mashup curriculum!

About this time of year I get a *lot* of emails along the lines of

My Junior High School (JHS) students are dead!  They won’t say anything.  They won’t do anything. Help!!!!

First of all … Don’t worry.

All they are doing is what they have been taught to do in school, which is to basically sit down and be quiet.

They think they’re doing a good job. 🙂

So your job is to let them know that a) it’s OK to speak, relax and have fun and b) it’s actually the best way to learn.

Once they know that this is actually allowed, it starts to make sense to them.

Then you can slowly start to cure their shyness. (Remember shyness is just the degree to which you can communicate.  And the cure for shyness is confidence.)

Genki English wise, the trick is to play the songs and especially computer games on the TV in class but *don’t* tell them to sing or move along.

If the volume is loud enough what magically happens is that they start to move and sing on their own.

Especially when they get into the computer games.

(Which I originally wrote for my junior high classes.)

Of course if you’re not using Genki English in your Junior High classes then…. well…. sorry, it’s back to teaching a bunch of zombies!! 8)

Be genki,


P.S.  Here’s how to plug your laptop into the school’s TV:

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

4 Responses to “Help, My Junior High Kids Are Dead!”

  1. JulianK

    > All they are doing is what they have been taught to do in school… sit down and be quiet

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe, but its sadly true. Gotta love the school system =(

  2. jaya

    I did this lesson with grade 1 students, after teaching food. We sat in a circle and gave each one a food card(picture and word). I demonstrated with a high ability student. I told him to ask me “What have you got”?, I replied “I’ve got a banana”.
    Then I asked this question from each one. Next they asked in pairs.
    Next lesson was followed, introducing “swap”. (Demonstrate how to swap)
    After they answered “I’ve got a banana”, they asked “swap” to the partner, and if the partner agreed, he will say “OK and thank you”.
    Mind you some can even say No.
    I even wrote down these sentences for them to see and read.

  3. Remy

    And I thought I am doing something wrong in the classroom!!

  4. Martin

    I’m not quite teaching junior high students in one of my difficult classes. They are fourth and fifth graders and are making that transition of unruliness and anti-participation in English stuff. Of course, I have to teach the stuff in the book, but I think I’ll start having a section of class devoted to learning/reviewing “easier” English which they still don’t tend to use in or out of class.

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