by Ms. Irene Indriasari
I often heard complaints from my colleagues and I have experienced myself how hard it is handling the young learners when you do not apply strict classroom control and management from the first time.

In dealing with young learners, teachers need to set firm “rules of the game”.  Children’s spontaneous acts and short span of attention should be taken into account. Therefore,the most important rule to be set is building their commitment as well as their intrinsic motivation to learn. 

Based on what I’ve been through, here are six tips in building your young students’ commitment to learn in the classroom.

1.       In the very first meeting, you have to tell students the topics that they will learn with you. The students have to know (they have the right) what you and they will learn in the respective term. This will raise their motivation if you do it merrily, by giving them trivial quiz, games etc. You can also ask them interactively every topics to tap their schemata. (Isn’t it a good tip to fill in the first meeting besides the boring introduction? J)

2.       In building good classroom control, ask your students what it takes to be a good student.
Write on the board : “Good student will......” . They will come up with (for EC 1 to 3, maybe you have to fill in yourself)  : listen to the teacher, cooperate well, be nice in class, study hard, etc. (Of course you will find some prank answers J . Prepare your funny firm frown J)
Well, you do not just let those promises go with the wind, but have your students make a hand print on paper, then ask them to choose promises they are able and intend to keep, afterwards they have to write on each finger . It takes them time to choose anyway, as you have to say over and over that they have to keep those promises.
3.       Ask them to cut the paper hand, and ask them to say the promises they pick in front of the class. Make sure that the classmates listen to this little oath. J You can ask the classmates listening whether the person taking oath can keep the promises or not. Here is the time to give rule of reward and punishment. Make an agreement with your students about what reward they will achieve if they are nice in the end of the term and what punishment they will get if they do not keep their promise. Stick the paper hands on the wall as a reminder – a monument. J
4.       Prepare your reward and punishment scheme and be strict in this.
5.       Mind you that a creative teacher will encourage children to learn. Games, quiz and fun learning are powerful tools to motivate.
6.       In motivating, do not forget to give them a kind of teaser of what they will learn in the next meeting. Always let those young learners know your plans and invite them to give comments and inputs. Involving participation is a the key to commitment.

Good luck with those busy buzzy bees J

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