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    #1

    Unhappy I don't know their language

    I have recently started volunteering at a local government school on Saturdays. I take 2nd grade at the moment. The problem is that I don't know their mother tongue and they barely understand English. In a class of 30 highly energetic and distracted students, fighting , jumping and basically not listening to a word I say, I am left dejected and burning my vocal chords out. I feel there can be a better way of handling this, but can't find a solution on my own.
    1. How to maintain discipline in such a situation?
    2. How to engage students in fruitful learning?
    3. Links to resources, or things I can make. It's a low resource setting, with no internet connection or systems, english textbooks, colors etc.
    4. Also the level of children is very different. Some able to read complex words, while others barely understanding the alphabet.
    Advice on any would help me a lot.
    Thanks

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I don't know their language

    Welcome to the forum, TeachrNew.

    It's difficult to give a helpful response when one does not have direct experience of such a situation.

    As you are a volunteer, I think it is the responsibility of the people who have taken you on to give you some help. They should have some ideas about what you could be doing. Have you told anyone at the school about your problems?

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    #3

    Re: I don't know their language

    If you get them into smaller groups, it may make it easier to establish control, rather than trying to deal with the whole class at the same time. Having various levels in the class can be difficult, but you can try to use those who know more to help those who know less. What teaching resources do you have?

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    #4

    Re: I don't know their language

    Hi TeacherNew

    I have been in similar situations when teaching young children in Taiwan. Although I taught smaller groups I think I can help you.

    The first thing you need to focus on is classroom management. I would also go the extra length in the first 2 or 3 weeks to ensure that there was class discipline. You can't hope to teach them if they are not listening.

    some examples: Make them line up before entering the classroom. They should, upon authorisation, walk to their chair and sit down. If they dont (for example they run in etc and start talking with friends) make the entire class do it again. Make it very obvious that you are very patient and that you will keep trying until they do it right. The hope is that their peers start to pressure - which they are far more receptive to.

    I do the same for leaving the classroom, and never try to speak over the students - if anything lower your voice. Make it clear that if someone talks while you are talking you will completly stop and they will start all over again. I do this all the time. I am completely calm and they soon get it. Especially in the first few weeks you need to treat them as a unit. all for one and one for all. If one misbehaves, they all have to do it again.

    Other than that, keep your language really simple and do examples all the time.

    Hope that helps - I look forward to hearing how you get on. My attitude in these kinds of classes is let nothing get past you. The whole class much have your attention before you proceed - wait patiently - it will work!

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