February 11

Fortnightly Focus #11 – that group again

Busy week here, so my Wednesday post has turned into a Saturday post!

I’ve been trying a new behaviourial (points) system with this group which is having a positive effect on a number of them.  I found I was constantly juggling giving points for participation with rewarding the weaker learners when they did something well and trying not to unfair to the strong learners who would be streaks ahead in points at the end of the lesson.  Each time I needed to award points, my focus was away from the learners and I was feeling a lack of control.  Now, everyone starts the lesson on maximum points and the idea is not to lose any points during the lesson – they’re divided into sections for things so that as well I can see why people are losing points – not sitting properly, annoying classmates, chatting in Spanish and so on.  As I say, this means it’s now clearer for the class why an individual is losing points, although it does mean there’s perhaps less incentive to participate as points aren’t awarded for taking part or getting answers correct.

The fabulous Jill also re-introduced me to a fun activity which she does with YLs to keep them engaged and listening – each day there’s a magic word and if the teacher says the word, the learners have to stand up, turn around and sit down.  I’ve tried it a few times and I’ve found it works well with high-frequency, easy-to-spot content words.

I used “what” the other day which was highly amusing as I was asking lots of questions during the lesson…which leads me on nicely to my next Fortnightly Focus – I’m going to be thinking about questions: questions I ask my learners, questions I ask myself, questions learners ask me…

Tags: , ,

Posted February 11, 2017 by Teresa Bestwick in category My thoughts

4 thoughts on “Fortnightly Focus #11 – that group again

  1. Micaela

    Hi T! Nice to see you’re trying different systems and approaches with that class. Sometimes you need some trial and error to find a good fit but it takes courage to try new things out. xx

    1. Teresa Bestwick (Post author)

      Hey Micaela,
      Yes – I think it’s a case of finding what works with them. This current system might work for a while and then I might need to do something new. It’s frustrating when more time in the class seems to be spent on classroom management than on actually learning and using English.

  2. Sandy Millin

    We use a points system across our school, one for YLs and another for teens. The main problem that I had when I first used it was that I kept forgetting to tell them how they could get points. Now I write it in my lesson plan each time, and there are points offered for almost every activity. Here are some examples:
    – Points for good English
    – Points for working together
    – Points for quiet work
    – Points for playing nicely
    – Points for listening carefully
    – Points for speaking to everyone (in a mingle for example)

    Importantly, they don’t get points for getting answers correct or for finishing first, which would favour strong students. The idea is that everyone has an equal chance of getting points in any activity.
    Hope that helps!

    1. Teresa Bestwick (Post author)

      Thanks, Sandy. I’ve never worked anywhere with a school-wide behaviour/points system and I guess it has its benefits as the learners know what to expect (and what’s expected of them) from one teacher to the next.
      Do you find this system distracts you at all? I tried this kind of positive reinforcement with this class (e.g., “Maria’s sitting ready and listening, excellent”) but it still didn’t engage the learners who were daydreaming or misbehaving.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *