Give Power To Kids And Watch Them Soar!

Published in the ESL / EFL JobFinder - 07/20/2004

Hello to all ESL teachers out there!

The following is something I do in my kids classes in Japan to achieve my goal of empowering my kids/students to speak English and feel good about the process.

What this will do for you,

1.Free you up from being on the hot seat all the time.

2.Give you time to think more about your class while you're in the class which is invaluable if you're always trying to improve.

Let's have a look at what I'm doing and how you can make this work for you.

Today I'm on page 6 of the student book which is teaching "What is this? It's a pen is the answer right. I have over sized flash cards of the same pictures as the ones being used in the book. I stand in front of all the kids and ask what is this? My kids know to raise their hand and say "I know?" I'll call out a student's name and the student will say "It's a pen!" They get the card and I move on.

(Before I already did some drill activities like calling out the word and the kids slap what card it is on the table.)

Now here comes the fun!! You call up a student that you know loves to be in the light! And now your student is the teacher and you sit down! The student now stands there and asks the class what's this? Playing the teacher! I love doing this because the kids come alive, giggle, speak in English and just have a ball!

After about two kids up playing teacher, everyone is yelling they want to do it too!

You may have to help them hold the cards and gently guide them by whispering in their ear in the beginning.

What's going on now is the kids are learning actively as opposed to passively. Which is one of my goals.

It reminds me of kids playing a TV game. Well one is playing and the other watching. The kid playing is actively learning and the watcher is passively learning. Which one is having all the fun and retaining the most information?

Making the student the teacher when ever possible is going to help them so much and I encourage you to find as many chances as possible to make it happen!

Just some ideas for you to put this strategy to work right away.

1. At story time have the kids read one page to the class or one sentence.

2. If you are drilling vocabulary, let the students call out the words and give the card to the kids that get it right.

Side note, See a kid not saying I know? See him/her not into it? Pick him and give them FIVE cards! You say the words and they repeat as best they can. I use play money to give to students that get the right answers and for students that are slow, not into it for whatever reasons, I give them extra money and through it up in the air.
This gets them extremely happy and motivated.

3. Have them take attendance

I'm sure you can come up with hundreds of ways to get you out and put the student in Charge!

To your teaching success!

Craig Deosrcy

P.S. Want to live and work in Japan? Already doing it? Want to really do well at it? If your answer is yes to any of these questions then check out my ebook, The Super Teaching in Japan Handbook at


Craig Desorcy is the author of the super teaching in Japan Handbook. He has been in Japan for eight years working as a successful ESL teacher. Now he runs his own school and lives in Chiba, Japan with his wife and daughter.

You can discover more about teaching in Japan and Craig Desorcy at his website:

By Craig Desorcy