Classroom Management for Preschool and Elementary SpanishBrooks
Being a teacher is so interesting and challenging. Teachers need to master many different skills, possess broad knowledge in many subjects, and have deep knowledge in their content area. Classroom management is one of the most important skills a teacher must have. Even the most focused and knowledgeable teacher will not be effective if she is not able to manage her class well. For teachers of preschool and elementary Spanish, there are some very simple and effective techniques that you can use to make your class run smoothly and keep your students engaged.
First, and we have written about this before in this blog, it really helps to have a consistent routine and structure to your class. This is so helpful when children are learning a second language. Once they are accustomed to a routine it makes it easier to use the target language with comprehension. Students also become more receptive to learning when they feel comfortable and know what to expect. The consistent structure of Circle Time, Story Time, and Art Time is one of the strengths of the Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum.
What about students that act out in class? With young students, this can usually be handled quite easily with positive reinforcement of desired behavior. Young children are eager to please, and you can use this to your advantage. Many times you can preempt undesired behavior in this simple way: when you see positive, desired behavior in your students, point it out and praise those students. For example: “I see Miguel and Katrina are sitting quietly waiting for our lesson to begin. I like how they are keeping their body in their own space. Thank you Miguel and Katrina.” You might even go one step further and give an external reward such as a sticker to students that are demonstrating proper behavior.
What about staying in the target language? Some teachers find it difficult to keep students in the target language. Much of this has to do with setting expectations for your students. Let them know when you want them to use Spanish and why it is important. You can convey the wonder and excitement of using another language to communicate and get things done. You can use positive reinforcement when students stay in the target language. For some teachers it helps to have a sign or a signal for students that indicates when they are to speak Spanish and when it is ok to speak English. This can be effective, although I would encourage teachers to set the expectation that Spanish is used for the majority of the time in class.
It’s worth noting that classroom management has a lot to do with the individual teacher’s style. Some teachers need more focus and order while they teach, some need less. The important thing is that you are aligning your style to your management techniques and that your students are learning within that context. The beauty of teaching young children is their enthusiasm and joy for learning and experiencing new things. This usually makes classroom management easier than it might be with older students. Given this, it is still important that you intentionally plan for your classroom management. Your lessons will be more effective, and you and your students will be happier.
Sonrisas Spanish creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum. The Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum consists of fun, effective, standards-based Spanish lessons for children.