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Kids Class Blues

By Dante Cuevas
Kiss disciplinary problems goodbye

Why does it always seem that there is always one child hell-bent on undermining your authority and making the classroom his/her personal three-ring circus? Take heart, I have here the solution to your classroom woes and sorrows. Keep in mind, however, that this is no magic formula that will solve your classroom control and discipline problems with the snap of a finger; the real key is preparation, preparation, preparation.

Begin with this: Who are my students? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their intelligences? ( What are their affective barriers? To sum up: What do they need in order to learn?

Once you amass all of this information, you are ready to go to the next step: personalizing activities that will incite students to learn. The key here, I will repeat, is preparation. Children have an overabundance of creativity and energy, so in order to keep students’ attention on the class there must be a constant change of activity, this is crucial because if you dwell on an activity for too long you will surely lose control of your class (Disney and the video game industry proved long ago that it is possible to hold kids attention for longer than a few seconds). I recommend a change in activity every three to five minutes. This means you will need a slew of activities for every class; bottom line: lots of preparation. I don’t mean to send any prospective kids’ teachers running for the hills because with time the process tends to streamline itself and preparation becomes less time-consuming. Many teachers might think that this abundance of preparation is unnecessary and prefer to manage their classes with an iron fist discipline but, in the end, there is little learned in these classrooms. You will be surprised at how disciplinary problems dissipate once you put this principle into practice. The rest is in your hands; your creativity and your ability to read your students’ needs will catapult you into that special category of teachers that leave an indelible and long lasting impact on your students’ lives and learning. Kids’ classrooms are a highly complex topic and I don’t want to give the impression that I have included all of the information necessary for a successful classroom; I simply want to point out the need for a constant change in order to maintain interest and control in the classroom.

Written by Dante Cuevas for Tefl.NET August 2007
Dante Cuevas has a liberal arts degree from SouthWest Texas University and a Teacher´s Diploma. He currently resides in Cuernavaca, training executives from different international and multinational companies. He can be reached at dncuevas[at] for any questions or comments.
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