Effective ESL Classroom Management: Techniques & Strategies

Instructor: Amanda Wiesner-Groff

Amanda has created and taught English/ESL curricula worldwide, has an M.Ed, and is the current ESOL Coordinator for the Saint Louis Public School District.

To create an effective learning environment for your ESL students, you first need to establish classroom management. This lesson covers techniques you can use to successfully manage your ESL class.

How It All Begins

When you enter an English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom for the first time, you will notice how quickly things can go off the rails if classroom management practices are not in place. Classroom management refers to the manner in which teachers create and maintain appropriate behavior of students within a class or school setting. If classroom management is missing, students will find it difficult to attain their academic and language objectives.

In this lesson, we will go over different classroom management techniques that will help you create an effective ESL learning environment for your students.

Build a Classroom Community

You will want to begin by creating an environment that promotes accountability and belonging. To do this, you need to create a classroom community where students learn to respect, value, and support one another. An ESL classroom community should encourage mistakes. Allow students to see you make mistakes, and cheer students on for trying; no one should ever be ridiculed or mocked for errors made when learning a second language.

Some techniques for developing a classroom community are:

  • Have students create guidelines together so they know what behavior is allowed in the classroom.
  • Let them be part of the decision making process; this reinforces the notion that their opinions, ideas, and input is valued.
  • Make sure you also follow the guidelines put in place; lead by example and display the behavior you wish to see.
  • When followed, the guidelines should help everyone feel safe, respected, and supported.

Develop a Structured Routine

Fundamental to a successful classroom community is to make sure students know what is expected of them. Having a structured routine in place will ensure students know what they are supposed to be doing, and when they are supposed to be doing it. A structured routine eliminates frazzled transitions, constant questioning over what is coming next, and worries about what supplies need to be prepared.

Here are some tips for setting up a classroom routine:

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