Irena Köstenbauer

Publiziert in ELT News, December 2004, Vienna

Young learners have very limited power of concentration.
A teacher has to grab their attention and cannot stop grabbing.
Here are some tips to show you how...

1. Do different activities in very short bursts of five to maximum ten minutes keeping the same teaching objective.

2. Before attempting an activity, make sure your aids have been prepared in advance. Trying to rewind a cassette in class, looking for a song can ruin your carefully prepared lesson. Once you have lost children´s attention, it is hard to make them motivated again.

3. See that children are equipped with the structures and vocabulary they need in order to fulfil the task. Your students should find the task challenging but accessible.

4. Keep in mind that our voice, gestures intonation make about 90% of the message transmission. Even a simple activity (vocabulary quiz) can become exciting if you modulate your voice and use different intonation patterns.

5. If your class is too noisy, divide it into small teams and play a game in the beginning of the lesson. Write down points on the board. During the lesson deduct points for bad behaviour. Explain that a game can be continued at the end of class if the teams do not lose too many points.