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Captivating and Conquering Your Crowded Class

 SSL ESL Teach with Sube Kits - Captivating and Conquering Your Crowded Class

The room is packed…
and virtually pulsing.


You feel the temperature slowly tick upwards as the volume—first a low, ominous grumble—builds to something closer to life inside a beehive.

Something flies by your head and off in the back you’re pretty sure some just started crying.

“What is happening?” you ask yourself. But you know.

Your once promising class so full of bright-eyed, fresh-faced, attentive minds is sinking like gravity into disarray, distraction, and disorder.

Okay, so that might be a little dramatic, but we’ve all been there before:

  • Crowed classroom.
  • Distracted students.
  • And of course, you: over-heated, over-whelmed, and (yes) over-worked you.

Today I want to offer you a simple solution to all three of these universal challenges. But before I do, let me back up…

Three Universal Challenges

For the last few months, I’ve had the incredible privilege of taking Sube on the road. Actually, “on the road” is kind of an understatement.

Here’s what happened...

Two months ago I hopped a plane to Chiang Mai, Thailand to present once again at the 2014 Thailand TESOL Conference. Since then, I have been on a marathon ESL-tour of classrooms and after school workshops between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

In fact, I’m still here. And so far, the experience has been great! There’s nothing like traveling with a purpose.

In last year’s blog post, “Teaching English in Thailand: Not So Far Apart,” I shared just how similar the challenges teachers face halfway around the world are with those we face in the states. In particular, I identified the three universal challenges:

  1. How can we teach effectively to a class of 30 or more children?
  2. How can we grab the attention of distracted students?
  3. And (most importantly), how can we hold it?

One simple solution to all three challenges is kinesthetics.

Get your students up, moving, and learning.

We all know that down time is an engagement killer. So let me be as specific as possible: one of the most common questions I get is how do I keep students focused when they have to wait their turn like in the flashcard game?

In the Sube flashcard game, students sit in a circle and one by one come up to the center to answer a question about the card. But what do you do with fidgety students that end up distracting or even disrupting the whole game? How do you keep students engaged and listening to each student when it’s not their turn?

The Solution in (Video) Action

To really make things practical, I’ve posted two video clips from classrooms in Thailand that address this challenge and show the solution in action.

This first is a clip from Yamsaard School in Rangsit Bangkok where Jumalyn Maque has been using the Sube materials with a very large classroom of 5th grade students. Notice how she uses a ball and an engaging sing along to physically keep the students involved until it’s their turn to come up and answer the question.

Simple but very effective!


In this second clip, I am demonstrating how to allow the kinesthetic learners to come up to the front, be the teacher, and ask the question.

If, as in my case, a student does not have the proficiency level to ask the question on their own, watch how I whisper the question into their ear so that they could then repeat the question to the class.

They loved it!


In the end, captivating and conquering your crowded class can be as simple as soon identifying the learning style of the student or students and then adapting the game to meet this need.

Don’t Miss Out...

Every week we offer teaching tips, classroom management strategies, and free games here on the blog.

To make sure you don’t miss out, and to get a free 1-Hour Sample Lesson from either of our ESL or SSL Curriculum Kits. Click here.

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