Teaching Tip 7: Stopping an Activity
- If you have a small enough group that you can be heard by
everyone, just say something like "OK, you can stop there. Well done everyone.
Thank you, you can stop now. Yes, that includes you, Giovanni!" Then give the
students a few seconds to finish their sentences until the room falls quiet.
Let them finish what they were saying.
- If you have a big group so you won't be heard if you try
talk over everyone then don't bother to shout yourself hoarse, simply have a
certain place in the classroom where you go and stand when you want everyone's
attention and go and stand in it. The students will stop talking very soon. (I
stand in front of the board, facing the class which gets their attention
because for the previous ten minutes or so I've been cruising round the room
monitoring). You can explain to students at the beginning of the course, "When
I want your attention I will stand here and you will stop what you are doing
and listen to me because I don't like shouting for your attention. Is that
- It's not important if the students have finished the
activity - it's the taking part that counts, as they say.
- It's a good idea to stop things while they are going
swingingly because it means you never hit the students' boredom threshold.
Leave them wanting more and enthusiasm will remain high. On the other hand,
don't stop it too soon because not everyone will have had a chance to speak or
guess the answers yet so they'll feel cheated.
© Liz Regan 2003