Teach English in Zhongxindian Zhen - Jining Shi

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For the past three years, I have been teaching ESL in Korea and teaching online to students in China. If there is one lesson I have learned in that time, it is that positive reinforcement generates positive behavior. Children and young adults alike, both crave affirmation and attention from the people around them. It's no secret that people need attention, especially from people they care about. The way in which you supply that attention will go a long way in how the student responds to you in the future. In a class, large or small, there will always be a few students who are accustomed to acting out in order to get attention. How the teacher chooses to deal with that is exactly what classroom management is all about. I have learned from experience that it doesn't matter how many times you will tell the child to stop acting out, all the child cares about is whether or not they are getting attention. This becomes a tricky situation because that student may be getting attention from its peers, or getting negative attention from the teacher. Either way it's both attention. If the teacher does nothing, then these bad behaviors can spread onto the other students because they see that acting out is the best way to get attention. Some teachers may become overwhelmed at this point and possibly yell, or lose their temper. At this point, respect will be lost and there's not much you can to do get it back. In my opinion, only responding to the negative behaviors is quite lazy. It displays a lack of creativity and effort on the part of the teacher. The solution to these behaviors is not responding with negative reinforcement to negative behaviors. In fact it is responding to positive behavior with positive reinforcement. In my opinion, the first week of a new class is the most important. That is the week when students will inevitably test the teacher to see what they are going to be able to get away with. It is crucial for the teacher to remain positive and calm during this time. The first step to making sure that this week goes well is to make it fun. Take time to plan games for the students to play. Make games that reinforce the rules of the classroom. There are many different ways to keep the class engaged without barking orders at them. Rewarding the students for playing these games correctly is a form of positive reinforcement. It tells the students "If I participate with everyone and do a good job, then we are rewarded." Obviously you can't always be playing games. There are many other times that require students to repeat words or make sentences. This is when the teacher must be the most responsive. When the teacher sees a student doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, make a huge deal out of it. When a student raises their hand and tries their best, give them a high 5. Even if the student doesn't say it perfectly, that student deserves a reward. Rewarding positive behavior can be exhausting, especially when 90% of the class is doing a great job. However, there will most likely be a student who has learned that acting out, or trying to be funny, is the best way to get attention. I have experienced students who will just stand up and walk away from me during a lesson. I could react to this behavior by taking something away from that student. Or I could do something that shows the student the way to get attention in my class, is to follow the rules and do a great job. This is the time that I will decide to do a short game. Something simple like Simon says. The student who is acting negatively will usually realize, that being apart of the class is more fun than trying to disrupt the class. Once the student is ready to participate again, we resume. When the student who was trying to disrupt the class begins to do what they are supposed to do, make an even bigger deal out of it. Remind the student that they can do an awesome job. That feeling of accomplishment will stick with that student much longer than any negative reinforcement you can come up with. The hardest part about using positive reinforcement for positive behaviors, is that the teacher can forget to do it. If a teacher uses these methods, the students will act as they should. If the students are just acting normal, it seems counterproductive to continue to compliment them. This is one of the reasons it can be exhausting. However, if the students continue to receive attention for doing what they are supposed to do, they will rarely feel the need to act negatively for attention. This is why positive reinforcement drives great classroom management. Thank you.