Archive | August 2013

Five Ways to Avoid Discipline Problems in Your Classroom

By: Karen Guth

We all know that classroom management depends a lot on preparing interesting lessons which challenge students to think and to be creative. We also know that yelling rarely helps to solve a discipline problem and if we want our students to really pay attention it helps to lower our voice not to raise it. However, from my experience, the real secret to avoiding discipline problems in your class is to develop, as soon as possible, a personal connection with your students.

I often collect my students’ emails at the beginning of the year (or give them mine and ask them to send me a note so that I will have their e-mail) and I put them in a contact group. This way I can send them interesting information, which I come across in the course of the year, that will encourage them to expand their English skills. 

The following five ideas are essential to show your students that you care about them and their learning. Caring is the key to avoiding discipline problems in the classroom.


1)    Learn the names of your students as quickly as you can. When you call on them ask them to say their name; when you see them outside of class ask them to remind you of their names. Don’t worry about making mistakes; they will be happy that it is important to you to learn their names.

2)    Assign some written work the first day of class and tell them that you will make corrections on it, give them a base grade and then they have a week to re-write it and hand it in, with the rough draft, to gain an additional 10 points. Make sure that you write a short comment on each student’s paper, for this and other work that you grade, starting with their name and a short note. They will immediately recognize that you are interested in a personal connection with them and it is important to you that they learn.

3)    Get the names and phone numbers of all of your students’ parents. If there is a problem, or something especially good that occurs, contact them directly, introduce yourself and tell them that you view your job as one in which you are part of a team which includes them and their children. 

4)    Give your students your e-mail address and if you feel comfortable your phone number. Explain to them that it is important to you that they contact you if they will be absent or if they need help on an assignment.

5)    If a student is absent more than two or three times from your class, find out why and call them to tell them that they are missed.


Read more about enhancing your classroom teaching on my site:

ETC. –   English Teaching with Creativity


Etc. English Teaching with Creativity

Etc. Etc…. English Teaching with Creativity

By:  Karen Guth

This is a blog for teachers of English as a Foreign Language around the world. However, this blog will include many creative ideas, as well as materials, that could be implemented in ESL classes and E1 classes for students whose Mother Tongue is English.

The name comes from one of my favorite movies, The King and I, which in many ways optimizes the adventure and challenges of a teacher, born and raised in an English speaking Country, packing up her bags and sailing off to a foreign Country to teach her language, customs and culture to the people of her new land.  In the story, the King of Siam is so eager to learn that he is often heard saying to the teacher, “you must teach, this and this, etc., etc., etc.,”.  The teacher, Anna, is creative, enthusiastic and caring. She views her work as a mission and a calling. The truth is that for all of us who decide to become teachers and remain teachers throughout our careers, we too view our work as, a work of heart.

I moved to Israel with my family 13 years ago and began teaching English as a Foreign Language 10 years ago. I work with high school students who need to pass matriculation exams to go to University. I also train teachers to implement a new Literature program that the Ministry of Education created to teach students higher order thinking skills (HOTS) infused into an English literature program.

This blog will contain material that may be specific to the work that I am doing with my students and teachers; however, I hope that you will find that there are many concepts which will transfer to your own classrooms, wherever you may be located.  I welcome your contributions, comments, questions, answers, ETC., ETC., ETC.!