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Kids World

Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.

October 15, 2001

A Friendly Classroom

KidsA classroom should be welcoming. It should emit a feeling of a "home away from home." There should be something at the door, beckoning the students in, elements in the room encouraging them to stay, something intrinsic making them relish being there and encouraging them to linger.

Of course, the human factor is the most important thing: how the students feel about themselves, their teacher and their classmates. But the setting in which the human factors reside to have their English experience is also paramount.

What effort have YOU made to make your classroom inviting? Are there posters on the walls to use for warm-ups? Are there windows allowing sunlight in? Windows are also great resources to rely on when one wants to ask questions about the weather or the seasons. All one has to do is look outside! Is there a CD or tape recorder there so you can play music when the students enter and leave the room? Do you realize that in doing so, you are subliminally announcing to the students that this is your English speaking territory and that they are guests in your room?

Since people usually adapt to the mood of the music, you can show ownership in a situation by creating a musical atmosphere. Are there plants by the window or flowers on a desk or table? A touch of beauty adds softness and warmth to any classroom.

Are the blackboards or white boards clean and in easy view of all students? Do you have a student blackboard where students can write their names or answer simple questions? Have you noticed that students love to write on blackboards or white boards? Take advantage of that enthusiasm!

YOU, the teacher, are the orchestrator of creating a classroom that will be a pleasant place for students to visit, a springboard conducive to positive learning experiences and at the same time a place that reflects the relationship that exists between you and your students. A classroom should be a friendly place that students always want to return to.

Helene Jarmol Uchida

Helene Jarmol Uchida is a veteran teacher with teaching, curriculum development and teacher training experience in the U.S., Greece and Japan. She is the director of the Fukuoka-based Little America English Schools and lectures at Fukuoka Kyoiku Daigaku. She holds the LATEM seminars every year in cities throughout Japan and is also the author of 'The Challenge Book', an interactive English book and CD especially created for Japanese elementary school students.

See also our Interview with Helene Jarmol Uchida.

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