One of my colleagues recently released an online course I’d like to share with you. Its about classroom management for teaching English to young learners. It was created by Will Herr, and he operates an English teacher training company called Star Teacher Training, in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.
Will is a respected trainer of young, and very young learner teachers. I worked as one of his part-time cover teachers in my first ever YL teaching job.
What I liked about his training approach, was that he had developed a method for successfully bringing completely new teachers up to a very competent standard, in a short period of time. In that job, I watched my team of inexperienced colleagues develop over several months into confident and effective teachers, in a way that I haven’t at many of the other schools I’ve since worked at.
The tools and strategies we learned were simple, powerful, and easy to apply. They’re also effective, whether you work in resource-constrained environments, or have large or small classes. You can find some of them on the Star Teacher Training YouTube channel.
With a decade of teaching experience, and years mentoring teachers, Will has a deep understanding of the challenges and problems teachers face, and has developed a range of pragmatic solutions to them.
That’s why I was interested to hear that he’d released a video course at Udemy.
His first video course is about classroom management for 6–11-year-olds.
It’s a great topic to start with, because classroom management is one of those areas that is particularly challenging for new teachers. For many, its more than stressful enough that their CELTA or TEFL didn’t really equip them on how to teach very young children in the real world. But new teachers quickly find themselves having to deal with all of these behavioural issues piled on top. The problem here, is that many of the methods teachers will intuitively grasp for (yelling, punishments and rewards, behaviour charts, and so on) don’t really address the fundamental causes of behavioural challenges in the classroom, and so they don’t tend to work very well.
The course itself runs for just over 6.5 hours and is broken down into 80 separate videos. What I like about it, is that it takes a holistic approach to classroom management. Will understands that what we see in the classroom isn’t really ‘mis’ behaviour, and that most behaviours occur for entirely logical reasons. You just have to figure out what they are.
As I’ve discovered, if there is a secret to classroom management, it is that by understanding the real causes of behaviour, nearly all of the behavioural problems you would otherwise face in the classroom can be easily prevented.
And for those challenges that do remain, you develop a bundle of strategies and tools to deal with them.
That’s what this course is about.
It starts out by looking at exactly what classroom management is, and then delves in to all of the alternative tools and strategies you could consider implementing in your classroom. It covers everything from understanding the different stages of a child’s emotional development, to the importance of movement, safety and security in the classroom. The value of this course for the beginning teacher, is that it quickly brings you up to speed on all of the things you might want to consider, rather than having to learn them all through hard experience.
This course won’t eliminate all of your classroom management problems forever, but it will provide you with a good awareness and a lot of tools to assist you in becoming far more effective in managing this aspect of your classes.
In closing, I’d like to say that if you have a chance to be in one of Will’s in-person workshops in Vietnam, its an opportunity you should jump at. Failing that, these video courses are the next best thing.
You can find more about this course on EFL-ESL Classroom Management for ages 6-11 at Udemy, and read lots of useful articles and videos on teaching YL and VYL students at the Star Teacher Training website, or the Star Teacher Training YouTube channel.