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Lessons from Jeremy Harmer XV: teaching large classes

Some teachers dislike the idea of teaching large classes (over 30 students) and it is true that it is more difficult to give individual attention to students when there are so many of them. However, teaching is such circumstances can be rewarding and productive. Big classes can develop a strong group identity, and the atmosphere can be exhilarating.

  • It is important to be very organized when teaching large classes. We must be sure that we have all the material that we and the students need. We need to have a clear idea of what we are going to do.
  • The bigger the class, the more important is to give clear instructions so that everyone understands exactly what they need to do. We should plan exactly how we are going to explain things and think about how to demonstrate what we want the students to do.
  • We need to make it clear when we are moving from one stage of the lesson to the next. All the students, even the ones at the back, should know exactly what is going on. We need to vary our voice and the pace of the lesson when we move to one stage to the other.
  • It helps to establish clear routines. Students need to know when they should quieten down at the end of an activity and what signs and signal we use to indicate this.
  • We will maximize the use of pairwork and groupwork.
  • Students can complete worksheets and do reading and listening tasks in pairs and groups.

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