24 April 2015 / by Vincent Chieppa

Chaotic classroom case studies: Tackling the troublemakers


This young lady, brings a powerful message across: We have to choose to promoting positive choices.  The following classroom case studies give a couple of strategies to just how a teacher could possibly steer class interactions in the right direction.  This is due to the fact that the ESL classroom poses its own challenges that are different from other learning environments.  So let´s dive right in!

• Use close-ended questions to guide students back on track.

• Use an incentive to make them use the target language (e.g. by giving points, offering a small prize or challenge to see how many target • language words they can use in one go).

• Restart the activity: explain again the objective & structure of the activity.

• Use close-ended questions to direct speech to the target language.

• Assign an “easier” role to this student.

• If need be, pair them up with a stronger student that will help them, but not dominate over them.

• Consider if you have created a comfortable and safe environment to express themselves freely & if not, think of how you could establish it.

• Listen carefully whether or not the target language is being used.  If so, don´t do anything.

• Switch to a more structured activity (e.g. from a discussion to a debate/interview)

• Subtly steer the activity back with questions.

• Divert the student in question by giving her/him a less prominent role where she/he still feels that she/he is participating (e.g. keeping score or asking other students their opinion).

• Direct more questions to the other students in the class.

• Ask the other students more open-ended questions while throwing more close-ended to the dominating one.

• Introduce an activity where each student only has a certain amount of time to speak.

• Use a ·”speak stick” – that is, only the student holding this object may speak.

• Ask her/him politely to give the others a turn.

• Give the student a role (e.g. in a role-play, discussion or debate) where they have to express an opinion.

• Reframe the context so that it is more relevant for them.

• Ask them more open-ended questions where they have to give full sentences.

• Have a backup activity lined up if all else fail.

Note that today´s discussion focus on only certain classroom case studies and that there is a multitude of other matters that could pop up.  The objective was simply to spur an awareness of how you could possibly deal with classroom challenges.

In addition, it might happen that certain classroom disruptions might be long-standing which might require other steadfast solutions such as incorporating strategies to incorporate students´ needs. This matter might also pertain to not setting effective boundaries – read up more about this subject here.

To wrap up, take a look at the following clip and decide:

• Do you agree with how the teacher handled the situation

• Would you have done the same?

• If not, how would you have managed it?




October 2017
The teachers are in the epicentre of the Oxinity growth model
by Jonatan Buxeda
Today I'd like to share what we have...


October 2017
Frustration of Students: Common Scenarios and How to Manage Them
by Jushua Cutts
‘’Mistakes are he portals to discovery’’ Frustration is defined as the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. This is a common feeling that ...


October 2017
Teaching kids: challenges and winning strategies
by Gabriel Ekoe González
In an increasing demand for English classes,  important points to consider when teaching kids are how to teach also what makes a good kids’ activity. Perhaps the most important thing to consider when teaching kids is their attenti...


July 2017
10 Real Reasons to do a TEFL Course in Spain
by Radmila Gurkova
TEFL Course in Spain - The time is now! July and August are the best months to decide to make the step into sunshine by signing yourself up to a TEFL course in September here in Spain. It's the perfect time to start something new. If you are a native English speaker or bilingual and you have an upbeat,...


July 2017
7 Tips on Giving Feedback to ESL Teachers
by Peter Nesbitt
Giving feedback to ESL teachers can be tricky, particularly when you have something critical to say. But yet it is also important, as without it, how can people learn? Sure, they can rely on their own self-evaluation of how they are doing, but if you have ever watched any TV talent show, you will see that a lot of people just aren't very good...


June 2017
Teacher Talks - Sharing expertise and experience
by Ryan Beaudelaire
Teacher Talks - Sharing expertise and experiences Things worth sharing We´ve had something up our sleeve for the last few weeks and we´re ready to do what we love and sha...


June 2017
Level testing: How to test a student's level?
by Ryan Beaudelaire
Level testing: How do you do it? Level testing...... Ooooh, lets talk! Unless you've been asked that awkward question outright: 'What level am I?' You won't know what's it like to to be a deer in the headlights and respond with something really daft in a high pitched voice like.... 'Yeah, really good!' Li...


June 2017
Teaching beginners: is translating really necessary?
by Radmila Gurkova
A big debate around teaching beginners has always been whether it is necessary or not to translate into the learners' mother tongue. Opinions are split and vary from definitely not to maybe sometimes yes or, in the other extreme, of course yes, translating is fast and effective. Translating seems straightforward and historically it has bee...


May 2017
Masterclass in ESL at Oxbridge to share and learn about expertise areas
by Gracia Guzmán
The Oxbridge English Teaching System (OETS) is made out of a wide and wide community of teachers from different countries and backgrounds. Offering a masterclass in ESL for different areas of expertise was necessary and easy at the same time, having in mind the richness of profiles of our community members. This is why we are currently devoti...


May 2017
Move to Spain - Have my life! It´s easy
by Ryan Beaudelaire
Move to Spain - Have my life! It´s easy! Last Sunday, this is how we spent our Sunday afternoon, chillin' up the Mountain at Montserrat! Just another mountaintop Benedictine monastery you know! ...