Tips on Classroom Management

Tips on classroom management

When I first started out teaching children I never bothered explaining any ground rules naively thinking that my bubbly personality and incredibly interactive ESL drama games could win over even the most undisciplined child …little did I know!!


After one very boisterous 7 year old created havoc in one of my lessons, ruining the enjoyment of others and almost giving me a nervous breakdown, I soon started thinking of better ways I could manage myself and my class.


Classroom ground rules are extremely useful when using ESL Drama especially when many children are up and moving around together. They really can make a huge difference to the whole atmosphere of the lesson, prevent any child getting over excited and losing focus or maybe even unintentionally harming another child , they encourage group collaboration and above all give you more control of each exercise without struggling to be heard.


I learned the hard way….I recommend you avoid it!!


It is important for the children to understand that drama is of enormous fun for everyone but it is structured fun.

Just as football is more fun if everyone follows the rules, ESL Drama is more fun if everyone follows the rules.


Here are a few initial suggestions for classroom rules:


1.      Try to go to the bathroom before the lesson. (obvious one but , when you’re in the middle of a group or pair activity it can become an extra disruption with children trotting off to the bathroom – although it often can’t be avoidedJ)


2.      Always listen carefully and follow the rules of any game or activity.


3.      When you hear the drum beat “freeze”  (this one I’ve found very useful in getting the whole class focused and listening in an instant. I personally use a drum but you can also use another loud instrument or even a whistle. When you beat the drum once the children  stop whatever they’re doing and “freeze” like ice statues which children love! 2 drum beats indicates the children to quickly and silently form a circle. )


4.      Always raise your hand, and wait to be invited before speaking (avoids unnecessary noise and keeps children focused and encourages listening and respecting others children’s’ opinions)  



The following rules are can be added on for older children  7-10 year olds:


5.      NEVER, EVER intentionally hurt someone else. This means no hitting or pushing but it also means no name-calling or teasing. A Drama lesson can only work if everyone feels safe.

6.      Everyone is responsible for his own actions. Just because someone else does something wrong does not give you permission to make things worse by doing the same thing. “He did it, too,” is never an excuse.


7.      If you don’t want to play …then sit and watch. (With ESL Drama occasionally some children will react differently to a particular game or activity. Try never to force anyone to participate especially if you see they are uncomfortable about joining in as this could block their spontaneity and fun with other games. With my private groups I suggest that children may sit at the side and watch quietly (without disrupting the rest of the class) if they really do not want join in a game. Saying this I very rarely see anyone taking up the offer.)


In one of my next tip posts I will be talking about some great ways of motivating your children using “rewards” …with no chocolate treats anywhere to be seenJ


Happy teaching


Why use ESL Drama Games?

Why use ESL Drama Games?Welcome ESL teachers


ESL Drama and Movement Games are of enormous fun and motivation for children of all ages and are great for enhancing listening skills and fostering group cooperation.

As you well know, children are perfect language learners, they are imaginative, curious , keen to learn, and above all very receptive. ESL Drama games  free up and involve children and give them the possibility to really put into practice their language skills , albeit limited skills , by being ACT-ive.

Children are encouraged to jump up on their feet express themselves and communicate with others in English – through mime, body language, eye contact and facial expressions.


ESL Drama games also spur children on to tell and act out stories/experiences

Drama Games also help children focus and concentrate their energies and improve their self-confidence – by taking on a role for example even the shyest of children are able to hide behind another character and feel less inhibited.


ESL Drama games when used at the beginning of a language lesson or play rehearsal, strengthen work with a script by helping the children warm up, focus their energy, develop their characters, work as a team and even memorize their lines!

The teaching tips and creative ideas included in this blog address both inexperienced and experienced language teachers interested and perhaps intrigued in learning how to incorporate drama as an extra joyful dimension in their teaching.

The games and teaching suggestions are targeted at young children aged 4-10 years and have all been personally tried and tested!

Happy reading


and explore the world around them. Through, role-playing, puppetry and mime, improvisation and characterization a child’s memory and vocabulary is constantly stimulated .


Tips on preparing your first ESL Drama lesson

 Tips on preparing your first ESL Drama lesson

miranda teaching

Your objective

Be clear what you want the children to learn during the lesson. For example colors,  body vocabulary, prepositions,  group cooperation, trust etc.

Choose appropriate games

Play drama games that reflect your lesson’s objectives. Children learn more by  being actively involved and by absorbing ideas and concepts directly so hands-on activities are perfect.

Try and free the children from any traditional classroom restraints (even if it’s for a short time!) and get them up moving, jumping, dancing, exploring the space around them, using their bodies and voices in strange and different ways. Sing songs, and play drama games and you will find it encourages them to get over any initial shyness or embarrassment when speaking in English

Speak loudly , clearly and briefly!

I believe a warm and enthusiastic voice is imperative. You really need to be able to introduce the game and it’s rules quickly with no fuss so that all the children can understand and feel encouraged to join in. Avoid talking for long periods of time as the energy level drops lower and lower and is difficult then to recuperate.

When introducing a new game keep the energy moving, SMILE and use mime and gestures or visual aids like puppets and flashcards to initially captivate the children’s attention.  If you see a child’s attention wondering try jumping up and using more active body language .

Try avoid using a monotone voice by changing your rhythm and pitch and always maintain direct eye contact with all of the children (and not just one or two). If you find that the rules of a certain game are complicated and the children haven’t understood  it ‘s quicker to repeat the rules in their native language  so they can get on with the game itself.


Trial runs  of games are a great way to ensure that everyone has understood the rules. Great results come from children who feel considered and not just part of a big group so try and interact with children individually even if it’s a comment or two at the beginning or end of each lesson. Finally remember children need lots of stimulation all the time.

Game playing

Be present and guide the children during each game to keep it on track. If you see the game going flat or not going according to plan , jump in and make some suggestions or change tactic or if the game really cannot be saved change it altogether – Quickly before energy levels drop! Remember to remain positive with your voice and never let the children see that you are disappointed with the outcome it could block their spontaneity with future games. Praise the children a lot as it builds their self esteem and encourages them to try again.


Note: in Drama there are no wrong answers!

Review and repeat games and songs

New language is never learnt (and remembered) in just one lesson so reviewing new concepts is imperative . Songs are great for reviewing  and you will find that children will love to repeat their favorite games again and again.

Happy teaching!